Drivers and Barriers to Professional Development: The Lived Experiences of Elementary School Principals

Document Type : Qualitative Research Paper


1 PhD student in educational management, Faculty of Management, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Management, Faculty of Management, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Professor of Educational Management Department, Faculty of Management, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran.

4 Faculty member of the Department of Prospective Studies, Institute of Cultural and Social Studies, Tehran, Iran.


The research was conducted with the aim of identifying the drivers and obstacles for the professional development of elementary school principals. The current research is qualitative study. The statistical population was the principals of public elementary schools. Using the purposeful snowball sampling method, 22 school principals from the education districts of Tehran were selected as a sample, and the theoretical saturation of the data was observed in the interview of the 20th person. A semi-structured interview was used as a tool. The data was analyzed by theoretical coding (Open, axial and selective coding) according to the answers provided to the three research questions. In the review of the current situation of the professional development of principals, 5 components were obtained, regarding factors affecting the professional development of Principals, 9 components were obtained, and in the review of obstacles to the professional development of Principals, 3 components were obtained. Based on the results of the research, it was found that the principals of educational institutions are facing issues and problems, which, by solving them, helped the professional development and capabilities of the principals. Finally, professional development indicators were presented in 5 scientific, skill, organizational, personal and cultural-social sectors.


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