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The Use of E-mail and Principals’ Work: A Double-Edged Sword
Leadership and Policy in Schools
  • Katina Pollock, Western University
  • David Cameron Hauseman, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto
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E-mail is having a profound impact on the workplace; this is particularly true for schools and for those in the position of principal. This article uses data from interviews with 70 school principals to illustrate how e-mail influences their work and workload. Benefits of e-mail use for principals include convenient and efficient communication with stakeholders, the opportunity to better manage workloads, and the ability to document daily communications by creating an accountability trail. Challenges include high volumes of e-mail, extended workdays, increased workload, greater expectations of shorter response time, and a blurring of the boundaries between work and home. The most compelling finding is that e-mail communication has intensified contemporary principals’ work and transformed the principalship into a mobile position with poorly defined work hours.

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Pollock, K. and Hauseman, D. C. (2019) The Use of E-mail and Principals’ Work: A Double-Edged Sword, Leadership and Policy in Schools, 18(3). 382-393, DOI: 10.1080/15700763.2017.1398338