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Atlanta University (AU)


School of Education

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The purpose of this investigation was to determine how an elementary school principal's time was being used and to compare it with other standards.

After logging the activities at the beginning of each working hour from December through February, the writer determined the amount of time spent on the various categories of duties found in McAbee's Oregon Study and on the roles and subroles in Mintzberg's paradigm.

In comparison to the standard, significantly less or more time was spent on specific categories of duties than experts recommended. Supervision of teachers and improvement of instruction, teaching, public relations, professional meetings and transportation consumed less time than both authorities and principals proposed, whereas office routines, administration of the plant, business management, superintendent's conferences and cafeteria received more time.

Greater percentages of time were spent on subroles in the inter personal and informational clusters than on decisional matters, and when his time-on-task activities were matched with the paradigm, a sizable portion of his time was spent on monitorial and figurehead functions with relatively little time being given to leadership and decisional functions.

The results of a questionnaire submitted to peers to rank activities in terms of urgency and importance indicated that as much was devoted to activities considered to be not urgent, not important as to activities considered important and urgent.

The study implies that a principal must learn how to control the administrative day, so that he may spend more time on tasks of high priority. It is also clear that when the principal's activities are placed in the framework of Mintzberg's structure, a new dimension of understanding and appreciation for his role in school settings emerges. It also shows that the power of his position lies not so much in monumental decisions, but in the control of information and constant evaluation.

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