School-based management and the role conflict of the school superintendent

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Although superintendency has long been considered a high-conflict role, little is known about the way decentralization initiatives are perceived by superintendents and how they influence their coping strategies, especially when confronting role conflict following the introduction of school-based management (SBM) in centralized educational systems. Data collected in a set of in-depth interviews conducted with school superintendents provide evidence for a role conflict that they experience following the introduction of SBM. It is evident that superintendents tend to employ rationalization and resistance as two major coping strategies with these newly created circumstances, in an attempt to restore the relevancy and the professional status of their role. Based on the findings, it is argued that superintendents are more likely to adopt a destructive rather than constructive problem-focused coping strategy and may therefore, prove to be restraining factors and obstacles for the implementation of SBM in a centralized educational system.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)547-564
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2003


  • Decentralized control
  • Israel
  • Local management of schools
  • Role conflict


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