The journey of a candidate: An insider's view of an administrative succession

Deborah Nielsen Gregory, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of an inside candidate as she applied for an administrative promotion within her organization. The organizational politics of the stakeholders (the community, the Board of Education, the Superintendent, and the administrative team) manifested in decision making and networking, played a significant role in the selection of a new middle school principal. The absence of trust and communication between the Board of Education and the Superintendent were essential factors impacting the decision-making process as were the differing views of school governance held by the Board members and the Superintendent. The research on inside/outside candidates contributed as well since the candidate was an internal member of the organization. The perception of a status quo leadership with an inside candidate versus the perception of a more aggressive outside candidate as a change agent was thought to be vital to the decision. The mandate for change indicated in the job description put the author, as the inside candidate, at a disadvantage. Administrative succession models were examined to identify presuccession factors and their impact on candidate selection. Several management models were included along with references to recent principal succession research. Different selection procedures in the literature were compared to the organization's actual selection process. Active union participation by the candidate and its impact on her candidacy were discussed. As president of the administrative unit, the author was in a unique position to view the organization through a different lens. Gender issues were discussed as they pertained to the author, a female, working in a male-dominated hierarchy, along with gender differences in leadership style. The study was written in the form of a personal journal as a series of documented entries, with reference to appropriate research and literature. This narrative format allowed the author the freedom to document her experiences in a self-reflective forum to better understand herself and to make the experience more meaningful. The study concludes with a list of recommendations to potential candidates seeking career advancement.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Gregory, Deborah Nielsen, "The journey of a candidate: An insider's view of an administrative succession" (1999). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9938904.