Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Elementary school principals--Iowa; School environment--Iowa; Educational change--Iowa;


Schools are being called upon to restructure, to make fundamental systemic changes which require a change in the culture of schooling. Little is known about how school culture develops. What role do leaders play in shaping culture? What influences do building size and the socioeconomic status of the students have on the culture?

The purpose of this study was to explore these relationships and to cluster and describe the culture profiles among Iowa elementary schools. A survey of a random sample of 250 Iowa elementary principals provided perceptual data from 214 respondents.

Based on the Competing Values theoretical model, four causal models were developed and tested using path analysis with multiple regression. In each model two of eight leadership roles (Mentor, Facilitator, Innovator, Broker, Producer, Director, Coordinator, and Monitor), Building Size, Free and Reduced Lunch were the independent variables. One of four ideal culture types (Group, Developmental, Rational Goal, and Hierarchical) was the dependent variable.

Results, from principals' perspectives, support the relationships between: Facilitator and Group Culture, Innovator and Developmental Culture, Producer/Director roles and Rational Goal Culture, and Monitor and Hierarchical Culture. These findings lend credence to the role of principals as culture shapers. Results did not support either the relationship between Free and Reduced Lunch and Culture Types or between Building Size and Culture Types.

Cluster analysis was employed to cluster the culture profiles of respondents' schools. Cluster 1 had high scores in Group and Rational Goal Cultures and average scores in Developmental and Hierarchical Cultures; Cluster 2 had high scores in all Culture Types; Cluster 3 had a low score in Developmental Culture and average scores in Group, Rational Goal, and Hierarchical Cultures; Cluster 4 had high scores in Group and Developmental Cultures and average scores in Rational Goal and Hierarchical Culture. The cluster profiles reflect a combination of culture types. Across clusters the characteristics of group culture are perceived as strong and principals perceive a similar rank ordering of leadership roles with emphasis on Mentor and Facilitator. The results of this study are consistent with the Competing Values theoretical model and support the efficacy of quantitative assessment of school culture.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Administration and Counseling

First Advisor

Norman McCumsey

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (viii, 192 pages)



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