The allocation of school principals' time at work is more than a matter-of-fact issue of work efficiency and time management. Instead it reflects the distribution of principals' attention to their responsibilities, thereby greatly affecting school management and improvement. The body of preexisting literature maintains that, "the allocation of greater attention by principals to certain task domains may offer greater leverage for school improvement than others" (as cited from Lee & Hallinger, 2011, p. 1; Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004). Therefore, principal time use is a terrain worthy continuous and in-depth exploration. Although early studies on principal time allocation at work can be traced back to the 1960s and 1970s (e.g., Richards & Peterson, 1965; Bridges, 1967; Glenn, 1975; March, 1978), the past few decades have witnessed a lack of synthesis of studies on this topic. The present study reviews relevant empirical research conducted from the year of 1980 and onwards from the perspective of methodological features and development. It involves 12 articles published in peer-reviewed journals in the past 30 years. These selected studies are conducted in a variety of educational settings, with varied samples, using different instruments and techniques for data collection and analyses. Objectives of this review are two folds: to identify the methodological varieties and characteristics studies in this domain have presented; to pinpoint the strengths and limitations of the selected studies from the methodological perspective. We begin with research design, sampling and instrumentation, and then move a step further to explore the analytical approaches and techniques in the hope of conceptualising and operationalising the variables involved. Although the present study does not incline to quantitative studies, substantive findings like nature and purpose of principal work activities and time allocation that the qualitative studies explore in depth will not be of interest. In brief the ultimate goal of this review is to outline the methodological development of studies on principal time allocation at work.
|Publication status||Published - 2012|