The influence of principals' values on their perception and management of school problems

Louise Y. S. LAW, Allan David WALKER, Clive DIMMOCK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes a grounded theory that emerged from a study of Hong Kong Protestant secondary school principals' values and their impact on principals' perceptions and management of problems. This substantive theory is labelled the "value-based congruence theory". It implies first, that values influence how Hong Kong principals perceive and manage problems in their schools. Second, that particular principal's value orientations correspond with their behaviour in terms of their perceptions, problem-solving strategies and the outcomes experienced. Principals' value orientations fall along the following five value dimensions: the relationship, reform, empowerment, client-focus and rationality dimensions. These correlations result in five principal types - the pacifists, the progressive mentors, the philosopher mentors, the pragmatists and the eclectics. However, other factors, namely, personal and organizational characteristics as well as the value properties of clarity, commitment, consistency, versatility, breadth and focus, are found to moderate the linkages between principals' values and their concomitant responses. Copyright © 2003 MCB UP Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-523
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2003



Law, L. Y. S., Walker, A., & Dimmock, C. (2003). The influence of principals' values on their perception and management of school problems. Journal of Educational Administration, 41(5), 498-523. doi: 10.1108/09578230310489344


  • Hong Kong
  • Values
  • Principals
  • Research
  • Problem solving