Elementary principal leadership orientations and selected professional and school variables


Educational leadership -- Florida, Elementary school principals -- Florida, School administrators -- Florida


The four frames of leadership orientation outlined by Bolman and Deal (1990) included the structural, human resource, political, and symbolic leadership styles and comprised the theoretical basis for this study. In March 2001, the survey instrument, Leadership Orientations (Self) was mailed to 431 elementary principals in a 15 county region of Florida public schools. Two mailings yielded a return of249 (59.7%) useable surveys from which principals' self-ratings on leader behaviors, leadership styles, and overall effectiveness in leadership and management were examined. This study sought to develop a profile of elementary school principals and to determine the differences in their use of the four leadership orientations. Frame usage was also examined based on the selected school environmental and professional variables of school size, student socioeconomic status, parent volunteer hours, PTA membership, and principal experience. Frame analysis of the principals' self-ratings led to the following findings: (a) the human resource frame was the predominant frame used by the principals; (b) the structural frame was the second most frequently used frame; (c) the political and symbolic frames were less frequently used by principals; and (d) the use of multiple frames was reported by 60.0% of the principals. Frame use did not significantly differ based on school size, student SES, or parent volunteer hours. Principals at schools with very large PTA memberships (over 75%) used the political frame significantly more frequently than did principals at schools with small PTA memberships (less than 25%). Differences in frame use emerged in relation to principal experience, however. Principals with 8-11 years experience used multiple frames more frequently than did their counterparts with 0-3 years experience. Principals with 0 3 years experience used the structural frame more frequently than did their counterparts with 12-15 years experience. Finally, elementary principals rated themselves equally effective in overall leadership and management when compared to other principals with similar experience.


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Graduation Date



Lynn, Mary Ann


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational Research, Technology and Leadership





Length of Campus-only Access


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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)




Dissertations, Academic -- Education; Education -- Dissertations, Academic

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