Good cop, bad cop: Exploring school principals’ emotionally manipulative behaviours

Izhak Berkovich, Ori Eyal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on school principals’ behaviours that affect teachers’ emotional states is limited. Currently, the focus is primarily on extreme manifestations of mistreatment and emotional abuse; normative daily behaviours, such as emotionally manipulative ones, have yet to be explored. The purpose of the present study is to investigate primary school principals’ manipulative behaviours, that is, principals’ actions aimed at enlisting others to advance their goals by stimulating emotions. Based on the self-report scale of Austin et al. (2007), we developed a modified other-report scale to explore principals’ emotionally manipulative behaviours with both negative and positive orientations. The scale was used in a cross-sectional field survey, in which teachers rated their principals’ manipulative behaviours. We found support for the prevalence of both types of principals’ emotionally manipulative behaviours and of their effects on teachers’ negative and positive emotions arising from interactions with the principals. We also found that principals who ranked higher in negative and positive emotionally manipulative behaviours self-reported having greater controlling tendencies. The findings and their implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)944-958
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.


  • Emotional manipulation
  • controlling tendency
  • emotion
  • principals
  • teachers


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