This study explored the assumptions, values and beliefs of principals regarding school leadership and management in Limpopo Province of South Africa. The study was necessitated by the fact that, although in South Africa, the Department of Basic Education (DoBE) invests so much resources on professional educator development programmes to build capacity among principals, every year a significant number of schools are declared ineffective. The study wanted to establish if the assumptions, values and beliefs of principals could have an influence on school leadership and management.
The Cultural Model was used in this study. This was because the model focuses on the values, beliefs and norms of individuals. The model also assumes that values and beliefs of individuals influence how they behave and view the behaviour of others. A narrative research design was used because it allowed the participants to share their life-stories and thus also their assumptions, values and beliefs with the researcher. Through the study, the researcher gained a deeper understanding of the participants with regard to their assumptions, values and beliefs and how they may influence their leadership in schools.
For the purpose of this study, the extreme group sampling strategy was used to collect data. A total of six principals became part of this study. Three principals were drawn from effective schools and the other three from ineffective schools. After data analysis, it emerged that principals from effective schools are inner-directed in their approach to life and principals from ineffective schools are outer-directed. This means that the latter group is less assertive and lack self-esteem and do not believe that they can influence or change the situation within the school. This finding, amongst others, informs the authorities to consider introducing pre-principal training before appointing principals into posts. Only the assertive and confident trainees should be given posts.