This article seeks to shed light on the contexts and characteristics of principalship in developing countries, as well as to examine similarities and differences between principals in developed and developing countries. Twenty-seven papers constitute the data on which external influences on principalship, patterns of leadership styles and managerial aspects of the principal's role are analysed. Although there is no one portrait of school principalship in developing countries, some common features were revealed, such as limited autonomy, autocratic leadership style, summative evaluation, low degree of change initiation, and lack of instructional leadership functions. Theoretical implications and suggestions for educational policy and reforms are presented.
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