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Principal time management skills: Explaining patterns in principals’ time use, job stress, and perceived effectiveness

Jason A. Grissom (Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA)
Susanna Loeb (Graduate School of Education, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA)
Hajime Mitani (Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 7 September 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

Time demands faced by school principals make principals’ work increasingly difficult. Research outside education suggests that effective time management skills may help principals meet job demands, reduce job stress, and improve their performance. The purpose of this paper is to investigate these hypotheses.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors administered a time management inventory to nearly 300 principals in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth-largest school district in the USA. The authors analyzed scores on the inventory descriptively and used them to predict time-use data collected via in-person observations, a survey-based measure of job stress, and measures of perceived job effectiveness obtained from assistant principals and teachers in the school.

Findings

Principals with better time management skills allocate more time in classrooms and to managing instruction in their schools but spend less time on interpersonal relationship-building. Perhaps as a result of this tradeoff, the authors find that associations between principal time management skills and subjective assessments of principal performance are mixed. The authors find strong evidence, however, that time management skills are associated with lower principal job stress.

Practical implications

Findings suggest that building principals’ time management capacities may be a worthwhile strategy for increasing time on high-priority tasks and reducing stress.

Originality/value

This study is the first to empirically examine time management among school principals and link time management to key principal outcomes using large-scale data.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences at the US Department of Education (R305A100286). The authors thank the leadership of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools for their cooperation and assistance with data collection. The authors are especially thankful to Gisela Feild for making this work possible. The authors are also grateful to Mari Muraki for excellent data management. All errors are the responsibility of the authors.

Citation

Grissom, J.A., Loeb, S. and Mitani, H. (2015), "Principal time management skills: Explaining patterns in principals’ time use, job stress, and perceived effectiveness", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 53 No. 6, pp. 773-793. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-09-2014-0117

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited