Purpose - Purpose – This paper seeks to explore how principals use their time when the requirement exceeds the activities are desirable. In the scholarly debate it has been pointed out the heads think that too much time is devoted for the financial and administrative issues, or to solve acute problems. This means that there is not enough time to work with educational issues. The purpose of this study is to clarify how principals use the time they have devoted for the educational area and what activities they prioritize. It will also increase our knowledge of reasons behind their prioritizing and reflect on some of the consequences. Results relate to the question if introduction of performance measures has increased a short term perspective on student performance or if it works as a suitabel tool for the principals to achieve the schools goals and to create more effective schools in the long run. The question if stakeholders can get required insight by the performance measures as they are designed today and if the principals got the right incentives is raised.
Design/methodology/approach - Design/methodology/approach – A quantitative approach is used and a mail questionnaire was distributed to the principals in all upper secondary schools in Sweden and a comparative cross-sectional study was conducted
Findings - Findings – Principals' perceptions suggest that, their prioritization when working with educational issues is influenced by a more short term perspective and that they prioritize teaching, which have a much faster impact on student outcome, over long-term school development which facilitate the conditions for the former. These findings increase our insight into the need, for as well stakeholders as principals, to develop performance measures to stimulate change when needed.
Practical implications - Practical implications – These findings have implications on the direction of the development of performance measures. The result points out the lack of transparence for stakeholders and uncovers the need to know when change and long term development is ongoing or not. The study show how principals need incentives for prioritizing these activities and that this can be done by the stakeholder by designing required measurements for as well teaching as long term school development when change is needed or to maintain a successful process.
Originality/value - Originality/value – This paper fulfills an identified need to study how the performance measures of today can be complemented with measures for stakeholders for increased insight in ongoing activities with development and required change for long term school success.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2014. Vol. 27, no 3, 520-531 p.