Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

How Superintendents' Leadership Behaviors Influence Educational Reform
by Perez, Joan, Ed.D., University of La Verne, 2018, 205; 10815084
Abstract (Summary)

Purpose. The purpose of this qualitative multicase study was to examine how the leadership behaviors of California school superintendents influence the implementation of educational reform initiatives in the districts they serve.

Methods. The conceptual framework of this study centers on the interrelationship between the role of the superintendent, models of educational leadership, and the context of educational reforms. The constructs will link the elements of the research process and the influence of educational reforms on the behaviors of superintendents. The conceptual framework used Fullan and Quinn’s (2016) coherence framework as a lens to examine the constructs and to determine whether superintendents are applying proven transformational and instructional leadership behaviors.

Methodology. A multicase qualitative study was used to explore how leadership behaviors of 7 superintendents influence educational reform in public school districts. The study was not bound by site or district; it investigated a contemporary phenomenon in depth and within a real-world context (Yin, 2014). Purposeful sampling was used to recruit acting superintendents in the Los Angeles and Orange County regions. The sampling criteria were (a) the superintendents served for a minimum of 3 years, (b) in a public school district, and (c) were referrals from trusted superintendent colleagues. Seven superintendents agreed to participate.

Findings. Examination of the qualitative data from the 7 interviews indicated superintendents’ leadership behaviors have influence in the implementation of educational reforms. To develop whole-system reform, superintendents must build a system for continuous improvement. Answers to 6 interview questions were carefully analyzed to provide an understanding of how superintendent leadership behaviors are influencing whole-system improvement.

Conclusions and Recommendations. The findings of this study were consistent with the coherence framework (Fullan & Quinn, 2016), which specifically identified 4 integrated components (focusing direction, cultivating a collaborative culture, deepening learning, and securing accountability) for sustainable whole-system reform. It was concluded superintendents build coherence for reform by simultaneously implementing the 4 components. The data revealed educational reform requires leaders to think holistically about the framework. While district leadership is key to influencing the outcome of whole-system change, a culture of continuous improvement is achieved with coherency and collaboration at all levels.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kimble, Linda
Commitee: Anderson, Jaime R., Haque, M.D.
School: University of La Verne
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 79/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Change, Coherence, Educational reform, Leadership behaviors, Superintendent, Whole-system reform
Publication Number: 10815084
ISBN: 978-0-438-00232-6
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