Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




The purpose of this study was to examine female principals that once taught within the school that they now lead. This study explored the transition from colleague to superior and discussed Sergiovanni's Sources of Authority (1992) that are employed by female administrators to balance social relationships while maintaining high levels of teacher expectations, conducting formal/informal evaluations, and exerting disciplinary actions when appropriate. This study served to explain what happened to social relationships when there was a positional power shift over a person where a friendship had previously been established.

Eleven female principals throughout suburban areas of Chicago, Illinois, that once taught within the schools that they now lead participated in an interview. Their responses were analyzed to identify themes and the source of authority that they most heavily relied on during their transition from a colleague to the superior.

Evidence gathered in this study suggested that intimate friendships are affected by the role change while casual friendships are unaffected. According to the participants, after attaining a leadership position, the intimate friendships were either strengthened or relinquished. Participants that had not established any social relationships prior to becoming the principal tended to become more social after their role change. Participants cited four challenges with ascending from a colleague to a superior: (1) addressing performance issues of a friend; (2) the perception of favoritism toward a friend (3) the misconception of others about prior knowledge of the school; and, (4) acceptance of peers. Also, three categories of conflict that these participants experienced were identified: (1) conflict among colleagues; (2) superior/subordinate conflict; and, (3) conflict with procedures. In an effort to combat these challenges and conflicts, female principals preferred a collaborative leadership approach and relied heavily on Psychological Authority.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.