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The Role of an Elementary School Principal in the Retention of Novice Teachers: A Micropolitical Case Study

By Elizabeth Ann Greninger


Teachers are leaving the education profession at alarming rates and the attrition of teachers has become a serious issue for many schools and districts around the country. The purpose of this study was to investigate the retention and attrition patterns in one elementary school through the lens of micropolitical theory; in particular, principal decision-making processes, leadership activities, and the relationship between principal and teachers were studied. This qualitative, single case exploration included classroom observations, document analysis, and focus group and individual interviews with one principal, seven novice teachers, and one lead mentor. The data was analyzed using categorical aggregation and a constant comparative analysis. Study findings provided evidence that a negative micropolitical state was present at the school under study, including an absence of shared values and goals, lack of positive interpersonal relations, and lack of collegiality, all of which served to discourage the growth of novice teachers as developing professionals. Teacher perceptions revealed that they were less than satisfied with their chosen profession, particularly lacking contentment with the principal leadership

Topics: Teacher Retention, Micropolitics, School Principal
Year: 2012
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