Recipient of the 2001 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award.
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Open Access Dissertation
High school principals--Iowa; Educational leadership; School size; High schools--Sociological aspects;
American society is changing. Consequently, public schools are being called to change as well. Previous reform efforts have failed to bring about substantive change and improvement. Current reform efforts are calling for the changing of school culture. What factors influence school culture? What role does leadership, school size, and socioeconomic levels play in developing school culture?
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of leadership, school size, and socioeconomic level to school culture utilizing the Competing Values Framework. The Competing Values Framework provided four ideal culture types and eight leadership roles. Culture types included group, developmental, rational goal, and hierarchical. Leadership roles were facilitator and mentor (group culture), innovator and broker (developmental), producer and director (rational goal), and coordinator and monitor (hierarchical). Surveys to 250 Iowa high school principals provided perceptual data from 233 respondents on leadership roles and culture types. Data on socioeconomic level (percentage o f students on free/reduced lunch), building size (enrollment), and demographic data on public high school principals in Iowa were garnered from the Iowa Department of Education.
Four causal models were developed and tested using descriptive statistics, correlation, and path analysis utilizing multiple regression and stepwise multiple regression. Culture type was the dependent (endogenous) variable. Two leadership roles, percentage o f students on free/reduced lunch (socioeconomic level), and school (building) size served as independent (exogenous) variables. Statistical testing was conducted for the total sample population, small school sample (enrollment less than 300), medium size schools (enrollment of 300 to 799), and large size schools (enrollment greater than or equal to 800).
Results of the study for the total sample population (n = 233) showed the simplest path model for each culture type to include, group—facilitator leadership role, developmental—innovator leadership role and building size, rational goal—producer leadership role, and hierarchical—coordinator and monitor leadership roles.
Results of the small school sample (n = 92) showed the simplest path model for each culture type to include, group—none, developmental—innovator leadership role, rational goal—producer leadership role, and hierarchical—coordinator leadership role.
In the medium size schools (n = 95), results showed the simplest path model for each culture type to be, group—mentor leadership role, developmental—innovator leadership role, rational goal—producer and director leadership roles, and hierarchical—monitor leadership role.
Results for large size schools (n = 46) showed the simplest path model for each culture type to be, group—mentor leadership role, developmental—none, rational goal— producer leadership role, and hierarchical—monitor leadership role.
The results support the role o f the principal as a builder o f culture. The results did not support the relationship between free/reduced lunch (socioeconomic level) and culture types. They also did not support the relationship between school size and culture type. Further quantitative research on school culture is recommended.
Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education
David Else, Chair
1 PDF file (xi, 166 pages)
©1999 Kevin Wayne Fiene
Fiene, Kevin Wayne, "Perceptions of Iowa high school principals on the relationship of leadership, school size, and socioeconomic level to school culture" (1999). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 492.