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I Am (Almost) a Principal Now: New Assistant Principals' Coping Strategies for Establishing Authority upon Entering Their Role

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This study examined the coping strategies utilized by new assistant principals (APs) in order to establish their professional and managerial authority as they enter their role. This article is based on a qualitative study of 23 APs at different stages of their careers, deriving categories from 37 semi-structured interviews (14 were repeated ones, held one year after the first interview) as well as 4 focus group interviews. The findings indicate 5 main coping strategies that new APs apply: (1) democratic-sharing management; (2) the expert power; (3) avoidance; (4) use of organizational politics; and (5) rewarding. This study may expand the presently-scant knowledge about the phase of entering the role of AP, and about APs' coping strategies at this stage. On the practical level, this study can assist in shedding light on the unique challenges that new APs face, in order to know induction programs for APs so that they receive optimal coping strategies adapted to their unique role in school.
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Keywords: assistant principals; coping strategies; induction; micro-politics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2018

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  • Educational Practice and Theory is a bi-annual, independent, refereed journal which, since its launch in 1978, has become an important independent forum for original ideas in education. It publishes innovative and original research in the area. Its focus is both applied and theoretical and it seeks articles from a diverse range of themes and countries.
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