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Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

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First Advisor

Sharon Rallis


The end of the twentieth century and the following decade were the times of unprecedented reforms in Georgia. This is the period when international development organizations started entering the region. As a result, Georgian policy makers introduced new initiatives in the areas of school governance, curriculum and instruction that caused considerable turmoil in educational system.

Research on the global-local transfer of education policy tends to focus primarily on top-down understandings of the reforms instead of reform resistance and local dynamics. However, local contexts may be critical to the success of imported initiatives since local societal cultures, along with local economic, political, and religious conditions, act as mediators and filters to policies and practices imported from elsewhere. The consequential effects of the reforms on the roles and responsibilities of school leaders who have been caught up in this whirlwind of change and on their professional identity are not researched sufficiently.

Narrative research was chosen qualitative research methodology for this study. Stories were collected from seven Georgian school principals and narratives were analyzed through integrated approach, combining inductive coding tactics and ‘start list’ approach using collective framework composed of Giddens, Wenger and Hochschild’s theories of identity development. The findings indicated that Georgian school principals have somewhat stable professional identities, that help them survive their immediate social contexts. However, this stability is usually disrupted by relative instability (reforms, restructuring, intense policy borrowing). Analysis of Georgian principals’ stories revealed that Georgian school principals engage in identity struggle from the moment of entering the position. While they carry their previously (historically, culturally and socially) formed identities into the profession, they are also subject to new contextual influences.

Looking at the Georgian school principals’ local experiences from their perspective will potentially assist researchers and policy makers to rethink policy borrowing, incorporate cultural sensitivity in planning process and minimize possible implementation challenges. Understanding how cultural and historical factors contribute to principals’ professional identity construction can help create context sensitive leadership preparation and professional development programs. Furthermore, looking at the principals’ conflicting identities through their narratives can assist policy makers in developing necessary support systems for school leaders.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License