Year of Publication

1999

Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Department

Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth T. Wilburn

Second Advisor

Dr. David E.W. Fenner

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Ray Fulton

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Joyce T. Jones

Abstract

Members of the school community should work collaboratively in the educating of students. Teachers and principals must understand that their traditional roles have changed and improved organizational teamwork will be fostered by all members of the learning community assuming decision making roles. Toward this end, the purpose of this correlational study was to explore the relationship between teachers' perceptions of the leadership behaviors of Duval County secondary school principals and their perceptions of the level of shared decision making practiced in their schools. This study provides insight into principal behaviors which nurture participation.

Leadership behavior was operationalized by the responses to each of the five practices on the Leadership Practices Inventory [LPI] (Kouzes & Posner, (1997). These behaviors were (a) challenging the process, (b) inspiring a shared vision, (c) enabling others to act, (d) modeling the way, and (e) encouraging the heart. The level of shared decision making was measured by responses to the Shared Educational Decisions Survey-Revised (Ferrara, 1994) in the areas of (a) planning, (b) policy development, (c) curriculum and instruction, (d) student achievement, (e) pupil personnel services, (f) staff development, and (g) budget management.

The population for the study was a sample selected from all secondary schools in the Duval County Public School System. Schools with principals who had served in their schools two or more years were selected for the study. The sample consisted of 646 participants from 26 schools.

Pearson product-moment correlations were generated for each of seven questions. A total of 34 significant relationships between the leadership behaviors of the principal and the level of shared decision making were identified. The significant correlations ranged between .096 and .191. These weak correlations demonstrate that the principals' leadership practices only explained between one percent and four percent of the variance in the level of shared decision making. Therefore, there was very little relationship between the leadership behaviors of the principal and the level of shared decision making in schools.

A possible explanation of the weak relationships discovered for each of the seven research questions may relate to the construct of the principals' leadership behaviors used in the study. From a more speculative perspective, individual leadership behaviors of school principals may have less influence on the decision making culture than the organizational structure and culture of the schools and school district.

The findings of this study provide implications for the leadership of school principals as they implement shared decision making in their schools. Principal training programs must provide prospective principals with experiences which will nurture the skills necessary to promote dynamic learning communities. Furthermore, in order to encourage their involvement, teachers must also be trained in this area. Tomorrow's principals must develop collaborative, professional cultures characterized by shared governance. Educational leaders should continue to construct deeper understandings of these professional learning communities.

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