Emotional trajectory at different career stages of principalship: A perspective from excellent principals

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Emotions hover like a shadow over the lives and work of school principals. This study aimed to build an understanding of principals’ emotional trajectories across principalship career stages by investigating the life stories of four excellent principals from China who were approaching retirement. The major data source was semi-structured interviews conducted with the participating principals. This study is a first to attempt to capture the dynamic emotional trajectory of excellent principals. The results show that the principals experienced more negative emotions than positive emotions during the earlier stages of their careers, but fewer negative and more positive emotions during the later stages. The principals tended to adopt genuine expressions throughout their principalship in order to achieve desirable consequences. They were more likely to utilise surface acting strategies during earlier career stages, but more deep acting strategies to achieve emotional consonance later in their careers as they became more confident about accomplishing professional goals. The study offers fresh insights into principals’ emotional trajectories. The findings aim to better inform principals, scholars and policy makers about the place and shape of principal emotional leadership. Copyright © 2021 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Management Administration & Leadership
Early online date15 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jan 2021

Citation

Chen, J., & Walker, A. (2021). Emotional trajectory at different career stages of principalship: A perspective from excellent principals. Educational Management Administration & Leadership. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1741143220985300

Keywords

  • Principal emotions
  • Stages of principalship
  • Qualitative
  • Emotional trajectory
  • Excellent principal

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