Data from primary school administrators about professional development in Hong Kong schools and its possible relationship with change and improvement were collected through interviews, a self-report instrument and targeted dominant professional development beliefs and practices. Incongruence between espoused administrator beliefs about professional development and practices in schools was found. Inconsistencies were evident in terms of planning, purposes, activities and teacher involvement. Administrators did not appear to associate strongly professional development with school improvement or change. It is suggested that administrators consider increasing involvement and building a environment based on norms of ongoing improvement. System support, particularly focused on encouraging broader understandings of professional development and greater contextualisation are needed. Copyright © 1996 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.