Term of Award

Spring 2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 1

Abe Tekleselassie

Committee Member 2

Charles Reavis

Abstract

Research was conducted to learn about the influence of leadership work styles and behavior patterns of three high school principals in northeast Georgia whose schools were undergoing reform through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The study sought to identify specific work styles and behaviors that affected teacher commitment when implementing change during school reform initiatives. A mixed methods study of collecting and analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data was used in a case study involving three different high schools. Principals and their teachers responded to interview questions and survey questions to reveal patterns of work styles and behaviors used in the change process. The responses to both interview questions and surveys were analyzed to find common themes of work styles that influence teacher motivation towards implementation of school reform. Responses to the interview questions and surveys that supplemented observations made by the researcher added to the panoramic view of interactions between teachers and leaders in the change process. A convergence of both responses and various methods of data collection were conducted to reveal what motivates or prevents others to embrace change and implement reform structures. The findings indicated that principal work styles and behaviors affected teacher commitment. Interactions have been shown between three personality types of leadership and their respective teachers in acceptance of change within the school system. Leadership personalities which scored strongly in scale groupings that included achievement, self-actualizing, humanistic-encouraging and affilative were shown to foster positive and confident reactions from the teachers to commit, by contrast while the leadership personalities which scored strongly in the scale groupings that included approval, conventional-dependent and avoidance were shown to foster negative reactions in teacher commitment. Low confidence levels and insecurities over shadowed the support needed for teachers to embrace change. Therefore, it was recommended that districts seeking to promote change in specific schools, seek to appoint principals to those schools that possess the characteristics that foster positive teacher commitment to change.

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