Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department



Flanigan, Jack

Committee Member

Campbell , Mike

Committee Member

Marion , Russ

Committee Member

Olson , Laura


Educational administrators assume that government-imposed policies are foundational to everyday decision-making in their respective districts; however, inherent to policies are the interpreters and the ramifications of their interpretations. Personnel responsible for interpreting and implementing new special education policy, in Local Education Agencies (LEAs), are the local directors of special education. This study examined the role of networking and the spread of isomorphic pressures by isolating the factors influencing special education directors in the implementation of federal, state, and local policy at the local level.
Faced with the challenge of implementing IDEIA 2004, South Carolina directors of special education confronted tough implementation decisions, which increased networking and pressured directors of special education to succumb to isomorphic pressures.
This qualitative, grounded theory study isolated the factors that influence the decision-making of directors of special education when faced with the implementation of new policy. The findings support the propositions, which were built on explanatory relationships and give meaning to the emergent theory grounded in the data of this study and practical to everyday decision-making among directors of special education.