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.
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||Educational Management Administration and Leadership|
|Early online date||21 Feb 2020|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2021|