Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

School of Education

Abstract

Sustainable school reform efforts are needed to move schools closer toward the ideals of equity, justice and success for every student. The success or failure of a school and its students often hinges on the effectiveness of leadership. Research reveals that transformational school leaders become effective change agents by developing a shared vision for the school, building consensus around key priorities, holding high expectations, providing support, modeling appropriate values and building collaborative cultures and shared leadership. The purpose of this study is to examine the predictive relationship between the emotional and social competence and transformational leadership behaviors of school principals.

Principals participating in the study completed the five transformational subscales of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ5x) and the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI), while their superintendents completed the rater versions of the MLQ and ESCI. The relationship between the transformational scales on the MLQ and scores from the ESCI were calculated using Spearman's rho coefficients. A Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test was calculated to determine the significance of difference between the self-assessment and other-rater assessment of transformational leader behaviors and social and emotional competency. A multiple regression analysis was conducted to assess the predictive relationship between the dispositional skills and transformational leadership behaviors of the school principal.

Findings from this study suggest that the ability of the school leader to manage relationships, understand the thoughts, feelings, and perspectives of others, recognize the bigger picture, control disruptive impulses and be flexible in the face of change predicts behaviors that can lead to meaningful reforms efforts and positive school outcomes. Given that these skills can be taught and learned across the lifespan, research findings offer implications for leadership preparation and training programs, administrator evaluation, professional development, and hiring practices.

The small sample size of the current study impacts the generalizability and statistical validity of the conclusions. Future research should include a larger sample of principals from a variety of settings. In this research, a 360-degree assessment of the principals' transformational leader behaviors and emotional and social competencies should be ascertained from supervisors, colleagues, teachers, staff and students.

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