School Principals at Different Stages of Adult Ego Development: Their Sense-Making Capabilities and How Others Experience Them

Gilbride, Neil ORCID: 0000-0002-7612-1402, James, Chris and Carr, Sam (2021) School Principals at Different Stages of Adult Ego Development: Their Sense-Making Capabilities and How Others Experience Them. Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 49 (2). pp. 234-250. doi:10.1177/1741143220903724

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The way school principals make sense of the context of their work shapes their actions. As in all adults, principals’ sense-making capability is a function of the ego and can change over time. Adult ego development (AED) theory describes distinct, qualitatively different stages of sense-making ability. The research reported here assessed the AED stage of 20 school principals in England using the Washington University Sentence Completion Test. Principals in the Self-Aware, Conscientious and Individualist stages of AED were identified. The research used a critical incident technique to analyse principals’ sense-making capabilities and how others experience them in their role as principals. The findings show substantive differences between those in different stages of AED in relation to their sense-making processes, the feelings they experience and display as emotions, how they involve others in the sense-making process, and how others experience them. There is a discernible trend in the behaviours of school principals and how others experience them that relates to the transition from the Self-Aware stage, to the Conscientious stage, to the Individualist stage. These findings have significant implications for understanding the practice of school principals.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Educational Management Administration and Leadership.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ego development; Headteachers; Principles; Adult development; School leadership; Educational leadership; Education; Management; Ego; Loevinger; Adult ego development; REF2021
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Society and Learning
Depositing User: Neil Gilbride
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2020 11:03
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:43

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