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Values and Actions: An Exploratory Study of School Principals in the Mainland of China

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This paper explores the relationship between leader values and actions in the Chinese context. The Chinese Value Instrument (CVI) and the Strategic Leadership Questionnaire (SLQ) were used as the primary data collection tools. The CVI was used to measure the presence of ten values: (1) social harmony, (2) benevolence and honesty, (3) initiative and innovation (challenge and creativity), (4) achievement and power, (5) zhongyong (practicality and modesty), (6) stability, (7) familial loyalty, (8) happiness, (9) renqing (sympathy) and guanxi (personal relationships), and (10) freedom and equity. The findings indicate that achievement and initiative were at the low end of the value continuum. Familial loyalty, social harmony, and benevolence were at the high end of the value continuum. The SLQ measured the managing, transforming, bonding, bridging, and bartering actions leaders use to mobilize and gain support from followers. The findings indicate that the Chinese school principal management prototype is formed around transforming and bonding actions. This prototype changes depending on role assignment and school type. A connection between leader values and actions was established with regard to the values of achievement and power, benevolence and honesty, and stability.


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