A Q-Methodological Analysis of School Principals’ Decision-Making Strategies during the Change Process at Schools

  • Mehmet Semih Summak Faculty of Education, Gaziantep University, Turkey
  • Mahmut Kalman Department for Primary Education, Faculty of Education, Gaziantep University, Turkey
Keywords: school principals, organisational change, decision-making strategies, decision-making profile, Q methodology


The purpose of the research was to explore the decision-making strategies that school principals employ while dealing with the challenges faced during the change process at schools. The study was conducted in two cities located in Central and Southeast Turkey, with a sample comprising 29 primary, middle and secondary school principals, selected via a purposive sampling technique. Q methodology, a qualitative-dominant mixed methods research design, was used in the study. The researchers developed and used a concourse of 24 specific items that target school principals’ decision-making strategies about change-related challenges in schools by taking a perception-driven decision-making model as the theoretical framework. The statistical software PQMethod was used for data analysis. The findings revealed that school principals shared similar views via the item configurations provided regarding decision-making during times of change, and had a similar profile in terms of decision-making and related strategies. The behavioural decision style was found to be the preferred style. The principals had a profile featuring a high focus on people and low cognitive complexity. The dominant beliefs driving their decision-making strategies seemed to incorporate comprehensive evaluation of the current situation, ethical concerns and organisational values, assessment of technical details, and thorough data collection. Some implications are drawn for researchers and practitioners.


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