Staying power: the relationship of public school superintendent tenure to leadership frames
Elliff, Doyne Scott
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The study examined the types of leadership frames (human resource, structural, political, and symbolic) (Bolman & Deal, 1997) most often used by public school superintendents in Texas, the relationship of leadership frames to the length of superintendent tenure in a single school district, and the influence of school district size on the relationship of leadership frames to tenure. The non-probability sample included 212 superintendents from public school districts in nine Education Service Centers in Texas, representing small / rural, mid-sized, and large urban districts. The study was descriptive correlational in nature, utilizing a survey to generate quantitative data. Results revealed that the human resource frame was used most often by superintendents. The only frame statistically correlated to tenure in one district, however, was the political frame (r=.17, p<.05), and this relationship remained statistically significant when controlling for school district size, as measured by student population (r=.17, p<.05). Qualitative data were gathered from two open-response questions asking superintendents to identify factors related to 1) successful leadership of major change in a district and 2) ability to persist in the superintendent position. In response to the question regarding factors enabling leadership of major change in a district, theme analysis revealed overlapping associations to each of the four frames, with an emphasis on the human resource frame. Analysis of responses to the question regarding factors enabling superintendents to persist in their tenure in a school district revealed an emphasis on the human resource frame.
"A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education."