Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Glenda Campbell-Evans


Recent changes in the Western Australian education system, resulting from the release and implementation of Better Schools in Western Australia: A Programme for Improvement (1987), have induced significant changes in the nature of the Western Australian primary principalship. Within this context of change, this research explores job factors contributing to the job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction of primary principals in one Ministry of Education district in Western Australia. Studies based on Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory, conducted in educational and non-educational settings, in addition to previous principal job satisfaction research were important in the development of the study's conceptual framework and research questions. Data to address the research questions were collected through a modification of Flanagan's critical incident technique. During interview sessions, eighteen primary principals were each asked to provide four sequences of events: two relating to periods of job satisfaction, and two sequences relating to periods of job dissatisfaction. An a posteriori approach to content analysis revealed that eleven job factors contributed to the job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction of primary principals; seven job content factors and four job context factors. Four job content factors and two job context factors were identified as being bipolar. Results indicated that principals' job satisfaction was strongly related to the job content, and that job dissatisfaction was related both to the job content and to the job context. Based on the results obtained, a description of a work situation which would make principals more satisfied with their work was described, and recommendations for further research were proposed.

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