Title page for ETD etd-04062010-142407

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Mabusela, Mapula Rebecca
Email mmabusela@mweb.co.za
URN etd-04062010-142407
Document Title How women principals negotiate school culture
Degree MEd
Department Education Management and Policy Studies
Advisor Name Title
Prof T S Phendla Supervisor
  • leadership
  • women
  • culture
  • school
  • negotiate
  • educational arena
Date 2009-09-01
Availability restricted

School leadership remains a male-dominated position in many schools. This is largely the reason why few women, who happen to be principals, find it difficult to command respect as core partners within the educational arena, and, they, therefore, need to negotiate school culture.

This research intends to explore how women principals negotiate school culture in the rural schools of the North-West Province of South Africa. The purpose is to understand how women handle this leadership role as they handle the business of the day in a school setting

The research took the form of a case study to provide detailed descriptive information of each participant. The case study used semi-structured interviews, observation and document analysis to collect data. I purposefully selected three women principals to participate in this research. Selection was made from the three categories of schools: primary school, middle school and high school. The multiple setting was deliberate, in order to explore the differences and commonalities that might occur amongst the women principals in their leadership role.

A consent form covering all the ethical issues of voluntary participation, confidentiality and anonymity was sent to the participants.

The use of qualitative research methods helped me to understand how women, as leaders, navigate the way things are done, given the demands of school-based management in the midst of adversity, discrimination, marginalisation and lack of support.

The study is based on the data drawn from two semi-structured interviews of one hour each, a one-day shadowing session and the analysis of one artefact of each woman.

The study is significant in that the findings might add to the growing body of information about women in leadership.

Dominant concepts that emerged from the study:

Participative leadership

Open communication

Collaborative decision-making

Cooperative governance

Lack of resources

Challenges experienced

Need for support structures

Copyright 2008, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Mabusela, MR 2008, How women principals negotiate school culture, MEd dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-04062010-142407/ >

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