Patterns of the psychological contract among rural Saskatchewan vice-principals
Propp, A.J. (Jim)
As demands on school-based administrators continue to increase, so do their responsibilities. Historically the roles and responsibilities of school principals have been clearly delineated in both the legislation governing in-school administrators and also in principals' job descriptions. Principals typically know the expectations of their leadership roles, however, the same cannot be said for all vice-principals (VPs). The pattern that emerges is one that shows the VP as being a jack-of-all-trades. Typically, Saskatchewan rural VPs do not have clearly delineated expectations formally or informally in either legislation or job description. Most often VPs positions are advertised as containing a teaching component and "other duties as assigned." The 2001 Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation (STF) recommendations for improving in-school administration positions have led to little change (p. 3). The conceptual framework focused on the relationship between geographical location (distance), gender and rural Saskatchewan VP perceptions of employee-made and employer-made workplace obligations. VPs are a critical yet often overlooked component of school effectiveness. This emphasized the need for advancing our understanding of VPs' employment relationship and connecting this to the "VP role restructured" blueprint found in the literature. The purpose of this study was to investigate, explore and describe the pattern of the psychological contract among Saskatchewan rural VP's and facilitate better utilization of their skills and leadership. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used in this study. The quantitative data was derived from Rousseau's (2000) Psychological Contract Inventory (PCI) survey questionnaire. This survey was used to determine the extent of employee-made and employer-made workplace obligations from the VP perception. The sample consisted of 42 VPs employed in rural Saskatchewan schools. The qualitative data were generated from participant responses to the open-ended questions attached to the end of the PCI. The responses to the survey and the open-ended questions were analyzed according to the research questions, emerging themes and recurring themes. After the data were analyzed, relationships were revealed between geographical location, gender, and rural VPs' perceptions of workplace obligations. The findings in this study revealed VPs were generally in agreement that relationships between distance, gender and perceptions of workplace obligations were slight at best. It was also revealed that VPs' perceptions of employee-made and employer-made workplace obligations were characterized as well-being items representative of loyalty and security features of a relational psychological contract. VPs indicated a willingness to commit to the organization regardless of distance or gender. Participants almost unanimously expressed their aspirations for the inclusion of professional growth, skill enhancement and increased leadership responsibilities in their assigned, expected and assumed role behaviors. Participant responses were generally consistent with the literature. Derived from participants' qualitative responses, VPs lead busy work lives. As revealed in the findings, VPs indicated they had aspirations for enhanced leadership opportunities. This study generated many implications for practice, policy and research.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteePawlovich, Walt; Crozier-Smith, Derwyn; Billinton, Jack; Wimmer, Randy
Copyright DateMarch 2004