IEMA

 



Investigating the
Occupational Well-being
of Hong Kong School Principals and Influential Psychosocial
Risk Factors:
A Mixed-methods Approach

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Principal Investigator
Dr. Chen Junjun
Research Fellow of APCLC
The Education University of Hong Kong
 
Co-Investigator
Professor Allan Walker
Chair Professor and Co-Director of APCLC
The Education University of Hong Kong
Professor Chiu Chi Shing
Adjunct Professor
The Education University of Hong Kong
Dr Hui Wai Tin
Adjunct Principal Lecturer
The Education University of Hong Kong
Dr Ronnel Bornasal King
University of Macau
Dr Philip Ridley
Deakin University
 
Funding Source
General Research Fund
 
Project Duration
2021-2022


Description


The occupational well-being of school principals is crucial to the effective operation of schools. When the occupational well-being of principals declines it significantly affects school functioning, and whole-school well-being also declines. Understanding the occupational well-being of principals has become a priority for researchers around the world but has largely been neglected in Hong Kong. Addressing this gap in knowledge is critical given the current social and political instability in Hong Kong.

Building on my previous research on the well-being of principals and teachers, this project has two aims: 1) to validate two robust instruments for evaluating principals’ well-being and influential psychosocial risk factors, namely, the Assessment of Quality of Life (AQoL-8D) and the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ-II), using a sample of Hong Kong principals; and 2) to investigate principals’ occupational well-being and influential psychosocial risk factors at work in the current Hong Kong context.

The project will employ an explanatory sequential research design using a mixed-methods approach. First, a quantitative survey study will be conducted to validate the AQoL-8D and COPSOQ-II and explore the occupational well-being and influential psychosocial risk factors with a sample of principals in Hong Kong. Second, a qualitative study comprising in-depth individual interviews will be conducted with a sample of principals to elaborate the findings from the quantitative data analysis. This project is expected to improve the capacity of principals and their schools to serve the community, elucidate the psychosocial drivers that seed success and wellbeing, build Hong Kong’s human capital, and enrich and advance the international research agenda in relation to theory, research, and practice.

Objectives
  1. To validate the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (II) and the Assessment of Quality of Life-8D using a sample of school principals in Hong Kong;
  2. To investigate the states of occupational well-being of different groups of principals (e.g., gender; principalship experience; school level; school type; individual, school-related, and contextual factors);
  3. To identify the psychosocial risk factors that particularly affect the occupational well-being of principals; and
  4. To explore how the psychosocial risk factors affect the occupational well-being of principals.

Impact

Knowledge and Theory

The project will produce empirical insights that will advance local and international knowledge regarding the occupational well-being of principals and its influential antecedents. Furthermore, this project will open up an opportunity for international comparisons with research findings from similar studies in Australia, New Zealand, Finland, and Ireland.

Instrument Validation
This study is instrumentally significant because it will validate two internationally well-established instruments in Chinese (the COPSOQ-II and the AQoL-8D) with a sample of Hong Kong principals.

Practice
This project will have several practical implications. First, the project will generate knowledge to support and reinforce Hong Kong principals’ well-being in turn will improve working conditions and school functioning. The outcomes from this project could be also used to inform policy settings and programmes for preparation, selection, and standardization of principals. In addition, like the Australian project, this project aims at serving as the starting point for a longitudinal project that studies Hong Kong principals’ well-being across their professional life spans. This project will systematically monitor principals’ well-being across Hong Kong first and then across other similar countries such as mainland China.