An investigation of factors influencing job satisfaction of principals in low -performing and exemplary schools

Lee Ray Bryant, Fayetteville State University


The purpose of this research study was to investigate factors related to job satisfaction among school administrators in the State of North Carolina. Specifically, the population for the study was comprised of two groups of grades k–8 principals, with 120 participants in each group, selected from those schools which had been designated as low performing and exemplary under the North Carolina Standards and Accountability Program. Locke (cited in Gunn & Holdaway, 1986, p. 45) defined job satisfaction as, “the pleasurable emotional state resulting from the perception of one's job as fulfilling or allowing the fulfillment of one's important job values, providing the values are compatible with one's needs.” The major job satisfaction theories have been developed from theories of motivation and of work motivation. In many organizations, job satisfaction of the employees and the quality of their working lives have proven to be just as important as effectiveness and efficiency. Job satisfaction concerns pertain as much to school administrators as they do to other workers. Job satisfaction research revealed that there exist certain intrinsic and extrinsic factors which affect levels of job satisfaction. Literature indicated that the job satisfaction of many administrators is related to the perception of their effectiveness, the effectiveness of their institution, and their level of influence in the setting. Recent research examined job values and needs of individuals as factors influencing job satisfaction of school administrators. Since job satisfaction appears to be related to a number of variables, it was the intent of this study to explore the relationship between job satisfaction and the school performance categories of principals from low performing and exemplary schools. Data were collected using a survey instrument, the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ), which contained the demographic variables of Gender, Age, years of work (Experience), years of schooling (Educational level), and twenty-three sub-test scales designed to measure facets of job satisfaction. Principals from grades k–8 schools determined to be low performing and exemplary according to the North Carolina Standards and Accountability Program were selected to participate in the study. The study revealed no relationship between general job satisfaction of principals and the performance category of their schools. However, there were significant differences between groups for some of the variables that comprised general job satisfaction. General job satisfaction across groups appeared to be related to age but not gender. When male and female principals from school performance groups were compared separately in relation to their job satisfaction scores, there were significant differences. Educational level and experience were not related to general job satisfaction for principals from either school performance group. There were significant differences in the way in which each group of principals rated intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction variables. Age, gender, educational level, and activity were variables found to be predictors of general job satisfaction for principals from both school performance categories. Social service was a predictor for only the exemplary school performance group.

Subject Area

School administration|Academic guidance counseling|Occupational psychology

Recommended Citation

Bryant, Lee Ray, "An investigation of factors influencing job satisfaction of principals in low -performing and exemplary schools" (2001). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. AAI3027005.