Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Superintendents' empowering leadership and district achievement: Does humility produce results?
by Hough, Kimberly L., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2011, 368; 3439672
Abstract (Summary)

Empowering leadership and humility in leadership are practices that have been shown to be effective in achieving organizational results in the business sector (Collins, 2001; Hartman, 2004; Wood & Vilkinas, 2007), but these concepts have not been explored in the educational sector. As CEOs of school districts, superintendents exercise leadership that is critical to students’ success. Both superintendent tenure and leadership practices are positively correlated with student achievement (Marzano & Waters, 2009). The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between superintendent empowering leadership and student achievement and superintendent humility and student achievement. The study was designed to examine (a) whether there is a relationship between superintendent empowering leadership behaviors and student results, (b) whether there is a relationship between each factor of superintendent empowering leadership behavior (delegation of authority, accountability, self-directed decision-making, information sharing, skill development, and coaching for innovative performance) (Konczak, Stelly, & Trusty, 2000, pp. 307–308) and student results, and (c) whether superintendents who demonstrate humility in leadership are more likely to lead school districts that improve student achievement than superintendents who overestimate their empowering leadership behaviors in comparison to the ratings of other central office administrators.

The previously validated Leadership Empowering Behavior Questionnaire (LEBQ) (Konczak et al., 2000) was given to a census sample of superintendents and central office administrators in 55 school districts in one southern state. Means of subordinate ratings and superintendent self-ratings on the LEBQ were examined to determine a superintendent’s empowering leadership scores. Two-year average mathematics and reading scores for tested grades in each district were used to measure district results. Self-other rating agreement (Atwater & Yammarino, 1992) was employed to measure humility. Hierarchical multiple regression and ANCOVA analyses were employed to determine whether relationships existed between superintendent empowering leadership and student achievement and superintendent humility and student achievement.

Superintendents who agreed with subordinate administrators about their accountability behaviors led districts with significantly higher student achievement in mathematics and reading. Superintendents who underestimated their accountability behaviors led districts with significantly higher mathematics scores. Upward feedback instruments and the categories of agreement approach may have utility in education environments.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Roach, Virginia
Commitee: Howard, Lionel, O'Cull, Howard
School: The George Washington University
Department: Educational Administration and Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 72/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration
Keywords: Central office, Empowering leadership, Humility, Leadership, Leadership humility, Student achievement, Superintendents
Publication Number: 3439672
ISBN: 978-1-124-45082-7
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