The job satisfaction of principals of previously disadvantaged schools: new light on an old issue
The aim of this study was to identify influences on the job satisfaction of previously disadvantaged school principals in North-West Province. Evans’s theory of job satisfaction, morale and motivation was useful as a conceptual framework. A mixedmethods explanatory research design was important in discovering issues with which these principals struggled. Thirty principals of secondary schools located in the rural villages and townships in the province were purposefully selected. A structured questionnaire was used during the quantitative phase. The items in the questionnaire determined the principals’ views on intrinsic and contextual factors related to their working environment. These items were followed by open-ended questions. Additional qualitative data were obtained through interviews with eight principals selected from the same group. Although the principals enjoyed intrinsic aspects of their work and positive interpersonal relations at their schools, the results were significant in determining how the principals struggled with other issues (e.g. policies and practices of the Department of Basic Education). Underpinning factors were unrealistic expectations and negative perceptions that influenced their professionalism. A key factor that emerged was power versus powerlessness.
Keywords: Evans’s theory; job satisfaction; mixed-methods; previously disadvantaged schools; principals
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