The school system: A survey on school principals’ Models of Signification

Marco Guidi, Viviana Fini, Sergio Salvatore


The School Principal plays a relevant and strategic role within the school setting though, or maybe thanks to the fact that, it has experienced several transformations over the time in accordance to the cultural, societal and normative transitions undergoing the historical trends of our school system and of Italy in general. This paper aims to present the theoretical framework, the methodology and the results of a survey addressed to study the conceptions – that is the Models of Signification – of the school context in a sample (n=73) of Italian school Principals. Such a knowledge aids in understanding the ways these actors orient their different organizational school practices and therefore modulate the effectiveness and quality of its outcomes. Results highlighted an inherent cultural variability among the principals’ significations, that in general shows their awareness about the institutional environment and about the expectations that the users have of the school educational service: in some case, the principal’s role is circumscribed to the regulatory support of the teaching service, while in other it is interpreted as a strategic function for the governing of the social transformations into a source of innovation and opportunity for the school context. It also underlines a trendily cultural shift in the principals’ role that mainly, and above all, takes them to perceive themselves as “managers”, more than “principals”.


school principals; Models of Signification; school context.

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363