n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - School principals' bullying behaviour

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The aim of this article is to report on findings from a qualitative explorative study on school principals' bullying behaviour, in the light of the scarcity of literature on workplace bullying in South African schools. In-depth personal interviews were conducted with ten educators who were identified by means of the "snowball"- sampling technique. Inductive thematic content analysis was used to analyse the data and the following forms of bullying behaviour by school principals emerged : Principals ignore educators' thoughts, needs, feelings and accomplishments; there is non-support of educators; educators are verbally abused and publicly ridiculed; unwarranted and unfair criticism is levelled at educators; educators are set up to fail; educators are subjected to social and professional isolation; there is a lack of empathy; unwarranted written reprimands may be issued; favouritism is displayed; educators are forced to resign or are reassigned and are even threatened with dismissal. The discussion of these forms of bullying behaviour is supported by direct quotes from the participants, as well as references to relevant literature.

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