Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Descriptive Study of Superintendents' and School Board Members' Perceptions of the Superintendent's Leadership in Rural Districts in Three Mid-Atlantic States
by Wilson, Janet S., Ph.D., Notre Dame of Maryland University, 2011, 146; 3499895
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to ascertain if perceptual differences exist between superintendents and board members regarding superintendents' leadership behaviors in rural school districts. Transformational leadership is considered necessary for organizations to move forward in the 21st century. This research sought to determine if transformational superintendents serve rural district communities that are described as close-knit and resistant to change.

Leadership orientations of rural superintendents were examined through the conceptual framework of transformational and transactional leadership presented by James MacGregor Burns in his book Leadership (1978). Burns portrayed leadership as the interaction between conflict and power, highlighting the importance of developing collective purpose in organizations to improve them.

A quantitative analysis was conducted using responses to a two-part survey mailed to elected school board members and appointed superintendents in rural areas in three Mid-Atlantic states. Part one collected demographic information and determined perceptions regarding superintendents' time-on-task demands and issues causing controversy. Part two was the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ 5x). Designed by researchers Bruce J. Avolio and Bernard M. Bass, the MLQ 5x contained 45 questions that examined the culture of an organization by gathering perceptual data about leadership using a Likert scale.

The results showed that rural superintendents and school board members do consider superintendents to be transformational leaders, and there is satisfaction with the job performance of superintendents. However, misperceptions exist between board members' and superintendents' perceptions of time-on-task demands and controversial issues. Since misperceptions can create dissatisfaction, controversy, and a higher likelihood of superintendent turnover placing school systems at risk for not meeting accountability mandates, this study focuses on understanding and managing perceptual differences to achieve the collective purpose of shared governance through the combined leadership work of the superintendent and school board members.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Slear, Sharon
Commitee: Mahoney, S. Margaret E., Slear, Sharon, Witmer, Kenneth D.
School: Notre Dame of Maryland University
Department: Department of Education
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 73/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration
Keywords: Governance, Leadership, School board, Superintendent, Transactional, Transactional leadership, Transformational, Transformational leadership
Publication Number: 3499895
ISBN: 978-1-267-25024-7
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