Attribution as effect: An outsider principal's succession

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4 Scopus citations


The study of succession effects on organizational performance has resulted in findings ambiguous at best. Succession has been found to have positive, negative and neutral impacts on a variety of outcome measures. While most studies have focused on performance outcomes, an alternative research approach is to examine the sense making experience of members of the organization during succession to better understand the process and its impact on participants. The paper reports the personal sense making experience of a successor to the principalship, adding to the literature exploring other participants' views. The successor found that the validation of her legitimacy as a new leader led to actions on the part of organizational members and the attribution of positive observed results to her principalship. Further exploration of attribution as a causal factor rather than as rationalization for unexplained outcomes is proposed. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-352
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration


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