EjSBS - The European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences

The European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences

Online ISSN: 2301-2218
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Analysis of Personal-Professional Status of Women Managers for Sustainable School Management in Turkey


For a sustainable education, it is imperative to empower women in the education process. This study aims to evaluate and describe women's personal and professional characteristics in school management in Turkey. In the study, the opinions of woman school managers about the goals of becoming a manager in line with their images of self-efficacy, self-esteem and organizational justice and their perspectives on the problems arising in the process were discussed. Mixed method research was carried out and a total of 288 women school managers working in the different provinces in Turkey participated in this study. An evaluation of the findings of the research found that the women school managers’ self-esteem and self-efficacy levels were high in contrast to the organizational justice level. This shows that the promotion of women school managers’ organizational justice image is significant in the context of building sustainable school management in Turkey.

Keywords: Sustainable education, school management, women managers, self-esteem, self-efficacy, organizational justice


The National Action Plan of Turkey (2008-2013) had focused on gender issues with specific emphasis on highlighting the effect of empowering women in different areas (education, economy, media, health, environment etc.) on the sustainable development of Turkey. Besides other factors (economy, democracy, environment, etc.) the well-being and happiness of a country depend on educating its citizens to attain the highest possible qualifications in all fields. This is especially significant for women, who are the subject of this research, in order for them to participate in and contribute to school management. Strengthening women's education levels, while contributing to women's self-development and prosperity, would boost Turkey's potential sustainable development while, at the same time, facilitate the participation of women in the globalization process. In achieve this, the education system plays an important role in overcoming gender patterns.

Women represent almost half (49.8%) of Turkey’s population; yet the employment rate for women over the age of 15 does not represent even one-third (27.5%) of its population (TÜİK, 2014). Although the employment rate for women in the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries is increasing, Turkey ranks last with 29.7% among those countries according to the 2013 report. In the same study, the ratio of woman managers in the public sphere stood at only 9.4%. The ratio of women judges was 36.9%, and the ratio of women professors was 28.7% for the academic year 2013-2014. The ratio of woman police officers was reported as 5.5%, with no significant change compared to previous years (TÜİK, 2014). The latest report on the female labour force in Turkey shows the trend has increased slightly to 33.3% in 2019 (The World Bank, 2021).

Although women in Turkey have more opportunities to improve themselves in the field of education than previous years, this is not proportionally reflected in the field of management. This shows that the number of women managers representing the top management positions is low. Unfortunately, according to the Global Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum in 2016, Turkey ranked 130th out of 144 countries (Leopold et al., 2016). In the 2010 version of the same research, Turkey ranked 126th among 134 countries (Hausmann et al., 2010); not much of a significant improvement in real terms despite the gap of six years and the implementation of Turkey’s National Action Plan (2008-2013).

An analysis of the labor force participation rates by educational status in the 2017 Household Labor Force Survey report shows that as the education level of women increases, so does their participation in the labor force. The participation rate of women of various educational levels were are follows: illiterate women was 16.1%; women who do not have higher education was 28.1%; women with a high school diploma was 36.5%; women with a vocational or technical high school degree was 42.8%; and women with a graduate degree was 72.7% (TÜİK, 2016).

An examination of the literature on women managers in Turkey reveals that the case has been examined on a general basis while many important variables have been ignored resulting in the failure to establish any relationship among the variables. For example, Tok and Yalçın’s (2017) study shows that, with regard to women educators across Turkey in the 2014-2015 academic year, almost all the pre-school teachers (94%) were women; more than half (59%) of primary and secondary (54%) school teachers were women; while slightly less than half (46%) of high school teachers were women. Compared to other professions, this is a clear indication that woman form the majority in the teaching profession compared to men. This confirms the hypothesis that, like in other countries, teaching is a woman’s profession in Turkey (Tan, 1996). Sadly however, this situation which favors women, is not reflected in the top management. While more than half of the teachers were women, only 7.9% of school principals in Turkey were women.

Briefly, in the analyzed literature, although there is a legal equality between men and women in Turkey, in practice however, the number of women in management positions is quite low (Negiz & Yemen, 2011). An examination of the literature in Turkey reveals the issues faced by women school managers. Ağıroğlu-Bakır et al. (2017) found that women were not preferred as managers because women have gender-based responsibilities and a higher workload would result in longer working hours which would mean less time for the family. Another study addressing the problems of women school principals by Aktaş (2007) found that despite fulfilling their responsibilities, women were subject to the discrimination and obstacles. Altınışık (1995) delineated the following factors that prevent woman teachers from becoming school principals: (i) woman teachers do not want to be school principals, (ii) supervisors who prefer to appoint men prefer male teachers, (iii) women principals cannot spare the time required for management and (iv) the social structure of Turkey is not suitable for woman managers.

This scenario is not limited to Turkey. International studies such as that conducted by Babaoğlan (2017) reveal three distinct categories of gender discrimination related issues based on the responses of American school district principals: (1) men are preferred as principals, women are not; (2) the belief that women cannot be effective managers; and (3) women's decisions are questioned and not accepted. Kitele’s (2013) research on women managers in Kenya revealed social and cultural obstacles to women being appointed as managers. Sam et al.’s (2013) study in Ghana showed that equal opportunities especially in terms of management should be provided to both men and women as gender should not be a criterion for being assigned as a manager; rather managers should be selected based on knowledge, experience and skills. Fuller’s (2017) study of woman school managers in England criticizes the fact that women in the UK and in the world in general are in the minority in terms of school management positions.

One of the three variables used in this study is self-efficacy which is a product of the belief whether an individual can and cannot do with his/her skills (İşcan & Çakır, 2016). According to Karagonlar et al. (2016), self-efficacy refers to an individual’s belief regarding his/her success in dealing with possible situations. In other words, behavior and environment affect each other and determine the individual's potential responses in situations. However, studies on teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs, especially women education managers in Turkey are relatively low.

Regarding teachers’ competencies, self-esteem can be considered as important as self-efficacy. Self-concept, self-consciousness or self-image is a general form of image that one develops as a result of the interaction of our thoughts, images, emotions and evaluations (Arslan, 2008). An individual’s self-esteem is affected by his/her self-worth. Research reveals that self-esteem affects and is affected by several variables (Kaya & Saçkes, 2004).

Cashwell (1995) states that individuals with high self-esteem perceive themselves as worthy, whereas individuals with low self-esteem reject, underestimate, and dislike themselves. In this case, it is expected that teachers and education managers who communicate directly with students and other stakeholders like parents would, by default of their roles, have high self-esteem. Studies in this area focus mostly on the teachers' work that is related to professional self-esteem. Biroğul and Deniz’s (2017) study examined academic optimism and professional self-esteem of 303 teachers of different subjects working in 16 secondary education institutions in Kocaeli's central and other districts. The study showed that academic optimism and professional self-esteem increased when the teachers' need for appreciation was met.

Another important variable for teachers and school managers in this research is the concept of organizational justice which has gained increasing importance nowadays. Organizational justice refers to an individual’s perception about the processes and resources within the organization, the responsibilities and subsequent rewards given, and how the behavior towards them are evaluated on the basis of justice. As a result of this judgment, they develop a positive or negative attitude towards the organization and their jobs (Seçkin & Demirel, 2014). Since this concept affects the feelings and behaviors of individuals towards their organizations, it could be stated that as the employees' loyalty decreases, their job performance decreases.

In summary, the fundamental aspect of this research, which differs from other studies and which is lacking in the literature in this area, is the evaluation of the reasons why women are not adequately represented in managerial positions based on the variables of self-efficacy, self-esteem and organizational justice.

Purpose of the study

In this context, it is crucial to determine the perceptions of women school managers about their goals of becoming managers in line with their self-efficacy, self-esteem and organizational justice images. The research findings are expected to contribute to building sustainable school management in Turkey.

Research questions

3.1 What are the self-efficacy, self-esteem and organizational justice levels of woman school managers in Turkey?

3.2 Is there a relationship between self-esteem, self-efficacy levels and organizational justice images of women managers?

Methods and Materials

Research Design

A mixed method research design was utilized but only the quantitative analysis is reported in this paper. In the quantitative dimension of the study, correlation tables related to self-esteem, general self-efficacy and organizational justice image scales within the scope of the relational model were prepared and interpreted.

Population and Sample

The research population comprises women managers in the field of education working under the Ministry of National Education in Turkey. These may be the principals or deputy principals of the schools. However, since it was difficult to reach all these groups using official permits, purposeful sampling was undertaken. In order to achieve this, an online questionnaire was prepared and shared on social media in order to reach the working group. Social media was considered the most commonly used tool among teachers. A total of 288 women school managers participated in this study.

Table 1 - Distribution of participants by age, educational status and place of employment
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Table 1 displays the summary of the statistics of women managers at the Ministry of National Education of Turkey by age, educational status and place of employment. In terms of age, 62 of women school managers (21.53%) are aged between 24-30; 109 (37.85%) are aged between 31-37; 84 (29.17%) are aged between 38-44; and 33 (11.46%) are aged 45 and above. The average age of the women included in the study was 36.29.

An examination of their educational status shows that 188 (65.28%) have an undergraduate degree while 100 (34.72%) have a graduate degree. An analysis of the place of employment shows that 44 (15.28%) work in the Mediterranean region; 22 (7.64) in the Eastern Anatolian region; 47 (16.32%) in Aegean region;19 (6.6%) in the Southeastern Anatolian region; 55 (19.1%) in the Central Anatolian region; 33 (11.46%) in the Black Sea region and 68 (23.61%) in the Marmara region.

A questionnaire consisting of demographic information, self-esteem scale, general self-efficacy scale, organizational justice image scale were used to collect the quantitative data while open-ended questions about the opinions of women managers on the subject were used to collect the qualitative data. Only the quantitative data analysis is reported in this paper, while the qualitative data will be reported in a follow-up paper.

The Demographic Information section included information on age, educational background, and the city in which the teacher works.

The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES)

This scale, which is accepted as a reference in measuring self-esteem, was developed by Morris Rosenberg in 1963. The reliability studies of the scale were conducted on 5024 high school students in the USA. The reliability and validity of the RSES in Turkey were conducted by Çuhadaroğlu (1986) in a 205-person high school sample group where 0-1 points was scored as high self-esteem, 2-4 points was scored as medium self-esteem, and 5-6 points was scored as low self-esteem. The RSES comprises 12 subfields and the first ten items measure self-esteem. Positively and negatively charged items are listed sequentially. Items 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7 are positively charged and items 3, 5, 8, 9 and 10 are negatively charged. In scale scoring, low score indicates high self-esteem whereas high score indicates low self-esteem (Tukuş, 2010).

General Self-Efficacy Scale

This scale, totaling 17 items, comprises three sub-dimensions, namely initiative, persistence and effort. The score of each item ranges from 1-5. Items 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16 and 17 in the scale are reversely scored. The total score obtained from the scale can vary between 17 and 85; its Likert-form response allowed answers between “none” and “very good”. The reliability and validity studies of the scale in Turkey were performed by Yıldırım and İlhan (2010) on 895 people.

Organizational Justice Image Scale

The "Organizational Justice İmage Scale", developed by Colquitt (2001) was adapted to Turkish by Özmen et al. (2007). As a result of the factor analysis, a total of 7 items were included in the first factor. Thus, a total of 7 items -1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 - were gathered under the first factor, and these items constituted the “Operational Justice Image” sub-dimension. A total of 4 items - 8, 9, 10, 11 - were gathered under the second factor and these items reflected the “Distributive Justice Image”. Finally, items 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 in the third factor, constituted the “Interpersonal Justice Image” dimension.

Data Analysis

Descriptive statistics are summarized as the mean, standard deviation, minimum and maximum tables for continuous variables in summarizing the data obtained from the study. Categorical variables are summarized as numbers and percentages.

The normality test of numerical variables was checked with the Shapiro Wilks test when n <50, and the Kolmogrov Smirnov test when n> 50. The Pearson Correlation Coefficient was used in the analysis of the relationships between the numerical variables, and the Spearman Rho Correlation Coefficient was used in cases which did not show normal distribution. Statistical analyzes were done with the R 3.3.2v (open source) program and significance level was considered as 0.05 (p-value) in statistical analysis.

Findings and Discussion

In this section, the quantitative data analysis portions of the research are presented in tables.

Table 2 - Descriptive statistics of the self-esteem scale
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Table 2 displays the minimum, maximum, average, standard deviation and Cronbach’s Alpha (α) values of the self-esteem scale. The Cronbach's Alpha coefficient analysis reveals that the reliability levels are high (α = .85) (Özdamar, 2004).

Table 3 - Descriptive statistics of the general self-efficacy scale
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Table 3 displays the minimum, maximum, average, standard deviation and Cronbach's Alpha (α) values of general self-efficacy scale and sub-dimensions. Accordingly, it was concluded that the reliability levels of the overall self-efficacy scale with the initiative sub-dimension were high, while the reliability levels of the effort and persistence sub-dimensions were moderate (Özdamar, 2004).

Table 4 - Descriptive statistics of the organizational justice image scale and its sub-dimensions
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Table 4 displays the minimum, maximum, average, standard deviation and Cronbach’s Alpha (α) values of the general and sub-dimensions of organizational justice image scale. Accordingly, the reliability coefficient for the interpersonal justice image sub-dimension was found to be moderate, while the reliability coefficient for the other sub-dimension and the overall total score were found to be considerably high (Özdamar, 2004).

Table 5 - Relationship between participants' self-esteem scale total score and overall self-efficacy and organizational justice image scale general and sub-dimension total scores
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Table 5 displays the overall comparison of self-esteem scale, self-efficacy, and organizational justice image scales and sub-dimension total scores of the participants. There is a significant, low level, linear and uni-directional correlation between self-esteem respect of women managers and initiative, effort, persistence, overall self-efficacy total score and operational justice image (r=0.376, r=0.394, r=0.253, r=0.414, r=0.157 respectively, p<0.05). It can be said that as the self-esteem score of woman managers increases, the initiative, effort, persistence, general self-efficacy total scores and operational justice image score increases as well. Comparisons of other dimensions reveal no statistically significant linear correlation between self-esteem and distributional, interpersonal, informational justice images and organizational justice image (p> 0.05).

Table 6 - Relationship between the participants' general self-efficacy scale in general and sub-dimension scores and organizational justice image in general and sub-dimension scores
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Table 6 displays the occurrence of a linear relationship, if any, between the self-efficacy scale in general and sub-dimension scores, and organizational justice image in general and sub-dimension scores of the participants. There is a significant, linear, uni-directional and weak relationship between initiation and operational justice image and organizational justice image scale. (r=0.233, r=0.184 respectively, p<0.05). It may be concluded that as the initiative scores of the women managers increase, the total scores of operational justice image and organizational justice image scale increase. A significant linear, weak, uni-directional correlation was found between the effort score and the overall total score of the operational, distributional, interpersonal, informational justice image, and organizational justice image scale (r=0.353, r=0.239, r=0.142, r=0.162, r=0.299 respectively, p<0.05). As the effort scores of the executive women increase, the overall total scores of the operational, distributional, interpersonal, informational justice image and organizational justice image scale increase. A significant linear, weak, uni-directional correlation was found between persistence efforts and operational, distributive, interpersonal justice image and organizational justice scale general total score (r=0.267, r=0.194, r=0.132, r=0.229 respectively, p<0.05). It can be said that as the scores of the executive women increase, the overall total scores of the operational, distributional, interpersonal justice image and organizational justice image scale increase. There was a significant linear, weak correlation between the general self-efficacy scale general total score mean values and the overall total score of the operational, distributional, interpersonal, computational justice and organizational justice image scale (r=0.320, r=0.184, r=0.141, r=0.146, r=0.264 respectively, p<0.05). As the general self-efficacy scores of the executive women increase, the overall total scores of the operational, distributional, interpersonal, informational justice image and organizational justice image scale increase.

Conclusion and Implications

This study has established that the self-esteem and self-efficacy levels of women school managers in Turkey are high. Considering the difficulty of being a woman school manager in Turkey, it is natural for these women who have succeeded in becoming managers to demonstrate high self-efficacy and self-esteem images. It may be assumed that those women who are not successful in becoming managers may have problems with self-esteem and self-efficacy. Therefore, it is clear that women educators who aim to attain managerial status may need to improve their personality characteristics. Ercan and Altunay’s (2015) study found that women school managers had more favorable personality traits such as extroversion and responsibility compared to male managers. This is undoubtedly an important finding; however, it emphasizes the need for aspiring women school managers to amend any negative emotional traits while enhancing positive personality traits such as subsistence and openness as much as male managers.

The organizational justice level in women school managers was found to be lower that their self-esteem and self-efficacy levels. This finding may have emerged due to the unfulfilled expectations of women school managers with regard to their tasks. As stated in the introduction, women in Turkey may experience injustices before they become managers and even when fulfilling their managerial roles. Studies in this area have indicated that men have an advantage over women. For example, Köse and Uzun’s (2017) study highlighted several disadvantages for women managers in terms of professional, personal and social aspects in managing preschool education institutions in Turkey. Therefore, in terms of organizational justice, it can be argued that gender-related injustices negatively affect women managers.

The analysis of the quantitative portion of the study established a correlation (albeit low level) between self-esteem and self-efficacy. The literature on this subject produces a variety of findings. The self-efficacy image may be continuous or conditional and it can also be task-related. Although it is emphasized in the literature that self-esteem positively affects the quality of life both at school and outside of the school (Aydoğan, 2013), this study reveals that school managers’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction in terms of self-esteem, does not affect their images of competence at any time. Different occupations may affect one’s self-efficacy image where in one occupation it may be high whereas in another it may be low and this difference may not necessarily be related to self-esteem. Therefore, while it is natural that the relationship between self-esteem and self-efficacy is significant in this study, the relationship is weak. When evaluated separately, the self-efficacy levels of the women school managers were found to be extremely high. In this context, they consider themselves fully adept at their work. However, it must be noted that although the self-esteem levels were reported as high, it was closer to the mid-level rather than at the top level. In this case, despite the fact that women managers in Turkey perceive themselves to be extremely competent at their duties, the analysis revealed that they do not see themselves as competent when it comes to self-esteem out of school. Güçlü et al.’s (2015) study found that married women school managers’ anxiety levels were higher than single women managers. Since the responsibility of family and children is still largely the responsibility of women in Turkey, problems that arise outside the school may directly reflect on the work of women school managers which may be the reason for the heightened anxiety among them. This result is thought to stem from the patriarchal social structure in Turkey (Negiz & Yemen, 2011).

The relationship between women school managers’ self-esteem and organizational justice views can be observed uni-dimensionally (self-esteem and operational justice level). If a person is satisfied with herself/himself, it is thought that he/she will also be kind and respectful to the colleagues who work under her/his administration. The reason for this may be that women managers remember the negative circumstances before being appointed as managers and tend to hold on to this negativity (Çelikten, 2004). Such a situation is execrable as it appears that such women managers are not willing to change their attitudes.

This study sought to establish a relationship between effort level, which is a sub-dimension of the self-efficacy scale, and the overall score of organizational justice and all sub-dimension scores. Women school managers' images of justice were found to be high. Eker (2006) found that male managers, like woman managers, did not tolerate injustice at school, but also discovered that women cared more about organizational justice. In addition, if the overall self-efficacy score is high, a correlation was found between the total organizational justice scores and all sub-dimensions of woman school managers. Women managers who considered themselves adequate and competent in school management perceive themselves as fair. Women managers who think that they are successful at their work, also perceive that they protect everyone’s right in the working environment and do not discriminate.

This study has highlighted that the personal and professional characteristics of women school managers differ significantly from those of men. For example, it is widely believed that women managers are more emotional, meticulous, prescriptive and sometimes dominant. Research findings differ in studies on women school managers in Turkey. Tok and Yalçın (2017) found that sometimes women managers are more efficient than their male counterparts, while İmamoglu-Akman and Akman (2016) found that women managers could be difficult and inefficient to work with.


Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations may generate a sustainable school management in Turkey:

In order to increase the number of women school managers in Turkey, focus on personal development (especially enhancement of self-esteem image and self-efficacy) as well as leadership and management skills should be intensified.

In order to enhance the organizational justice images of women managers, the root causes of injustice should be examined and solutions suggested. In this context, it would be beneficial to provide focused in-service training for male school managers.

Despite the fact that the self-efficacy level of women school managers in Turkey was high, their self-esteem level remains at a moderate level. With regard to gender equality and sustainable education management, it is essential to examine daily life outside of work experiences of women and attempt to eliminate the factors that negatively affect women’ self-esteem.

Although the self-esteem of women school managers was found to be high, their self-esteem and interpersonal justice image were not related. Thus, it is suggested that the personal-professional development of women school managers be improved in terms of interpersonal communication, empathy and cooperation.

One of the important results of this research is that the level of organizational justice is related to the effort dimension of self-efficacy. In addition, overall scores of self-efficacy and organizational justice and all sub-dimensions were related. Hence, it is important to increase the self-efficacy levels of women school managers to increase their perceptions of organizational justice. In order to increase the self-efficacy of women school managers, it is important to share positive experiences among women managers, develop methods of coping with problems, and increase their personal development in aspects such as leadership.

This study underscores the need to empower more women to attain leadership positions especially in the educational sector because as succinctly stated by the Turkish Minister of Labour, Social Services and Family, Zehra Zumrut Selcuk during her address at the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, United States on March 13, 2019, “We all know that achieving sustainable development goals is not possible without women” (Umar, 2019).


The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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About this article

Published online: 30.04.2021
Pages: 94-109
Publisher: European Publisher
In: Volume 30, Issue 2
DOI: 10.15405/ejsbs.292
Online ISSN: 2301-2218
Article Type: Original Research
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