A comparative investigation of leadership style in southern Arizona elementary school principals based upon socioeconomic context in the school community
AuthorValenzuela, Manuel Octavio
AdvisorHendricks, J. Robert
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study investigated the leadership styles of elementary school principals from selected Southern Arizona school districts. A quantitative methodology was used to investigate possible differences in the styles of participants based upon socioeconomic context. Leadership style was determined using the Leadership Effectiveness and Adaptability Description (LEAD-SELF) instrument (Hersey & Blanchard, 1979). Possible relationships between selected contextual variables of the principal and his/her school community and leadership style were also examined. The constant comparative method was utilized to add further meaning, depth, and texture to the study goals. The data were collected from 47 elementary school principals from selected school districts in Southern Arizona. The data were analyzed using independent group t tests for possible differences in each of the leadership styles and style adaptability based upon the independent variable. The Pearson Product Moment Correlation was used to investigate possible relationships between selected principal and school demographic variables and leadership style. Finally, in-depth interviews were conducted with a selected principal from each of the five participating school districts. The study suggested that there were no significant differences in leadership style or style adaptability between the two groups. There was a significant relationship between the delegating leadership style and school enrollment. Otherwise, none of the relationships between principal/school characteristics and leadership style/adaptability were significant. There were two additional findings. The first suggested a significant relationship between percentage of students on free and reduced lunch and percentage of minority students. The second finding suggested a significant negative relationship between percentage of students on free and reduced lunch and enrollment. The in-depth interviews revealed several emergent themes including the constancy of principals' core values, beliefs, and style of leadership. Another major theme was the importance of understanding the school community, situation and how this might impact practice and school programs. Recommendations that emerged from this study included training in situational leadership as important knowledge for leaders in all environments, the importance of high-relationship behavior in school leadership, possible impact of school environment upon leadership practice, and possible benefits of providing specialized training for principals about effective practice based upon contextual variables.
Degree ProgramGraduate College