Sath Sorm, Ilhan Gunbayi, Ilhan Gunbayi


This research was undertaken in purpose of finding challenges with which the high school principals have encountered in using legitimate power, and strategies they have applied to exert it effectively. Methodologically, a holistic multiple-case design of qualitative research was employed because the study was conducted with principals and teachers who come from different schools, but the same units of analysis. 5 high school principals and 5 high school teachers from Kampong Thom province, Cambodia were purposively selected to get involved in writing answers of open-ended questions. Technically, NVivo 11 was utilized to analyse data. The results revealed that there have been a plethora of issues with which the principal have faced such as abusing power, power struggle, not obeying the rule, lack of motivation and professional consciousness, disagreement among colleagues, lax law, and low salary etc. Based on the participants’ experiences, to exercise legitimate power effectively, Cambodian principals have mostly adopted soft, hard, rational and bilateral power tactic in which relationship-oriented leadership style plays key roles.


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