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An assessment of well-being of principals in Flemish primary schools

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Purpose ‐ The goal of this inquiry is to indicate which individual, organisational and external environment factors contribute to a better understanding of the well-being of Flemish primary school principals. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Data from a representative sample of primary schools in Flanders (n = 46) were gathered through questionnaires (principals and teachers) and semi-structured interviews (principals). Findings ‐ The quantitative and qualitative outcomes suggest that well-being is a complex psychological phenomenon affected by a myriad of factors. The analyses indicate that general self-efficacy and achievement orientedness are significantly correlated with several aspects of positive (i.e. job satisfaction and job enthusiasm) and negative well-being (i.e. cynicism and personal accomplishment). With respect to school culture and structural characteristics, very weak almost negligible effects are noted. In addition, the analysis demonstrates the significant role school boards fulfill in explaining both positive and negative well-being. Finally, the role of central government in generally is found to affect well-being in a negative way. Practical implications ‐ The findings of this paper provide important information for policy makers concerned with the improvement of the well-being of primary school principals. Originality/value ‐ Although prior research investigated the influence of different antecedents on well-being, several limitations in method and conceptual framework yielded information of which the usefulness must be considered tentative. In this inquiry an attempt is made to overcome these limitations and contribute to the literature in a double way: this study adopts a concurrent mixed method approach of data collection; and well-being is examined from a positive psychology (job enthusiasm and job satisfaction) and negative psychology approach (burnout), whereas prior research almost exclusively looked at the negative pole of well-being.
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Keywords: Belgium; Job satisfaction; Primary schools; Principals

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 6, 2007

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