Term of Award

Spring 2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (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

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 1

Saba Jallow

Committee Member 2

Erik Brooks


The purpose of this study was to examine teachers' perception of their principals' interpersonal communication skills in relation to teacher performance. This was a qualitative study, where an authoethnographic mode of inquiry was employed. Authoethnography describes research studies of a personal nature (Ellis & Bochner, 2000). Using an interactive interview technique, five teacher participants were asked questions in an effort to elicit teachers' perception of principals' interpersonal communication skills as they relate to teachers performance. This study is significant in determining which interpersonal communication skills as perceived by teachers were most effective and essential in increasing teaching performance. Findings revealed face-to face communication as the most common means preferred by teachers in the teacher-principal dyad. Attitudes, ideas, behaviors of the principals do affect the performance of teachers. Principals easily articulated goals and missions of the school, but face-to-face interactions were most difficult for principals. Poor interpersonal communication of the principal affected the emotional and physical states of teachers such as depression, low-self esteem, feelings of incompetency, and seeking new place of employment. When principals demonstrated good interpersonal communication skills, the teachers were motivated to give more than 100% effort. Teachers' perceptions of their principal were manifested in their efforts to do their jobs. Chapter 4 presented a more detail descriptions of findings and chapter 5 reported a comprehensive analysis of the data. Several conclusions emerged from this study. First, those principals who have excelled in demonstrating interpersonal communication skills have experienced a school where teachers were functioning in a climate conducive to teaching and learning. Secondly, those principals who have not demonstrated good interpersonal communication skills have experienced teachers who have chosen not to extend themselves beyond expectation. Finally, principals affected teacher performance in one way or another regardless of their ability to demonstrate interpersonal communication skills effectively.

Research Data and Supplementary Material