Gender differences in principal motivations

Mona Elizabeth Bethel Jackson, Florida International University


Women have traditionally not attained the position of secondary school principal as frequently as their male counterparts. Research in the field of motivation theory suggests the significance and impact of gender on career paths. Theorists and researchers believe that women face an orientation to life that is different than men. Some see the principalship as satisfying different values and working toward some psychological needs. In this study, two hypotheses were used to explore whether substantive differences existed between men and women with regard to factors that motivate secondary school administrators to become principals in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The administrators were surveyed during meetings held with them at Region meetings. Participants were asked to rate the motivation factors on a 7-point Likert Scale (1-strongly disagree to 7-strongly agree) and to rank the motivation factors (1-most important to 10-least important) that might discourage one from becoming a principal as well as those that might encourage one to retire from the principalship; and to identify motivation factors that most influenced their decision to become a school administrator. Two hundred twenty-six surveys were returned. Quantitative data were collected to measure differences between men and women with respect to their motivation to seek the principalship in terms of their ratings on the Motivation Factors Survey. Based upon a Factor Analysis, four factors (intrinsic satisfiers, extrinsic satisfiers, principalship challenges and job values) were identified. A MANOVA using the factors as dependent variables revealed that, as predicted by research and theory, women were significantly more likely than men to be motivated by intrinsic satisfiers and job values. In support of this finding, open-ended responses to the survey revealed that men found extrinsic satisfiers to be of greater importance than intrinsic satisfiers.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Bethel Jackson, Mona Elizabeth, "Gender differences in principal motivations" (2005). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3169449.