Principal workload: Components, determinants and coping strategies in an era of standardization and accountability

Izhar Oplatka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Purpose: In order to fill the gap in theoretical and empirical knowledge about the characteristics of principal workload, the purpose of this paper is to explore the components of principal workload as well as its determinants and the coping strategies commonly used by principals to face this personal state. Design/methodology/approach: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 50 principals, all from the elementary and secondary educational systems of Israel. The analysis followed the principles of qualitative research. Findings: Four subjectively held constructs of principal workload, main sources of this workload, and the key strategies used by principals to face this workload were found in this study. Practical implications: It is recommended to strengthen school autonomy, increase the number of positions of middle management, prepare future principals for the heavy workload, and encourage supportive superiors who are sensitive to this issue. Originality/value: This study fills the gap in theoretical knowledge concerning principal workload, assuming that the particular characteristics of the school organization have some unique impact on this personal state. It also enables us to identify the types of this personal state occurring in educational organizations from the subjective perspectives of school members and stakeholders, thereby broadening the understanding of employee workload in various settings, including educational arenas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-568
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Principals
  • Role tasks
  • Shared leadership
  • Workload

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration


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