Term of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Teri Denlea Melton

Committee Member 1

Paul Brinson

Committee Member 2

Mohomodou Boncana


The field of leadership has yielded boundless research studies across disciplines, with a plethora in the business and political realms. The medical field and other social science have also joined the ranks, with education now entering the landscape. Educational leadership is a burgeoning field of research, but very little has been studied regarding the impact of humor and educational leadership. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a relationship exists between the humor style and the perceived effectiveness of school principals, the leadership style and the perceived effectiveness of school principal, as well as possible relationships between and among subtypes of humor and perceived effectiveness with subtypes of leadership style. Data were collected on each variable using established survey instruments: perceived effectiveness was measured on a Likert scale rating; leadership style was assessed by the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Avolio & Bass, 2004); and, humor style by a modified version of the Humor Style Questionnaire (Martin et al., 2003). Opportunity for comments (optional) was also provided. Participants were teachers in a regional area in the southeast United States; the total number of valid participants was 164.

Findings indicated that high ratings of perceived effectiveness by the rated principal were positively related to transformational leadership (r(162) = .648, p < 0.01). High rating or perceived effectiveness also demonstrated a positive correlation to two specific humor styles—affiliative (r(162) = .291, p < 0.01) and self-enhancing (r(162) = .345, p < 0.01). In addition, transformational leadership style and affiliative/self-enhancing humor styles were shown to have significant positive correlations. These findings are crucial to the educational leadership field as it seeks to better understand the aspects of what makes principals most effective in the ever-changing P-12 educational landscape. Research into the dimension of humor and leadership in education is in its fledgling stages. This study lays groundwork from which research can begin to develop and further investigate these findings.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material