Abstract Dean - A Leadership Behavior Study of African American Middle School Principals in South Carolina

A Leadership Behavior Study of African American Middle School Principals in South Carolina

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TITLE: A Leadership Behavior Study of African American Middle School Principals in South Carolina
 
RESEARCHER: Mark D. Dean
Graduate School of Education
South Carolina State University
Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation: December 2009

OBJECTIVE
The purpose of this study was to examine the leadership behaviors of African American middle school principals in South Carolina based on the five practices of exemplary leadership.

METHODOLOGY
A total of 27 African American principals participated in this study from a population of 64 middle school principals from public school districts in South Carolina (42% response rate). They completed the LPI-Self and provided demographic information. Internal reliability coefficients for the five leadership scales in this study were: Model = .52, Inspire = .73, Challenge = .59, Enable = .56 and Encourage = .89. The typical respondent was male (59%), with at least three years of experience (96%), who had been at their current school no more than three years (63%), and had either a master’s (30%) or doctoral (30%) degree.

KEY FINDINGS
Respondents gave themselves generally high assessments of their use of the five leadership practices (average score was 8.9 on a 10-point scale). Enable and Model were the two most frequently reported leadership practices used, followed by Encourage, Challenge and Inspire. There were no significant difference in the leadership behaviors of African American middle school principals based upon such variables as gender, school size, school location, and report card rating (effectiveness). The author contents that “a primary reason for this lack of variation among African American principals in this study may be attributed to the configuration of the student population in their schools. Community characteristics did not supersede this school factor because of its commonality in schools led by these principals. African American middle school principals in South Carolina primarily serve a large majority African American student population. As a result, similar leadership behaviors were likely employed to accommodate the needs and interests of this similar student make-up in their schools” (p. 96-7).

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