Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership


Lindle, Jane C

Committee Member

Brewer , Curtis

Committee Member

Campbell , Carl M

Committee Member

Bailey , Bea N


This study investigated selected elementary school teachers' perceptions of principals' leadership. Ten South Carolina schools were selected based on the criterion of 50% or higher poverty index. Five schools included the feature of recognition by the state for academic success for one year or more over the 2003-2006 timeframe. One hundred three elementary teachers and seven of the 10 schools' principals completed the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire 5x-Short (Bass & Avolio, 1995a, 1995b). Given multiple data sources for this study, the question was formulated as follows: How are teacher and principal responses on the MLQ validated by principals' reports of leadership and observations of principals' instructional leadership behaviors in selected cases of schools in the context of educational accountability policy?

MLQ responses were explored using a variety of statistical strategies including t-tests, linear regression, canonical correlation and chi-squares. Seven principals participated in open-ended questions through interviews and written responses. Follow-up observations of four principals were used to validate four leadership scales produced from the MLQ analysis of teachers' perspectives as more potent. Those four scales included Attributed Charisma, Inspirational Motivation, Contingent Reward, and Intellectual Stimulation. The researcher designed an observation instrument and observed an entire day.

This exploratory study offered some insights into the degree to which the MLQ provides information about these selected principals' leadership styles in the context of educational accountability. First, results of the t-tests and linear regressions showed that the MLQ was not able to discriminate between the five state-recognized schools for high achievement and the other five not so recognized. The observations led to more in-depth analysis of 45 teachers' responses. Chi-square results among teachers' perceptions of their observed principals showed that principals leading instructional changes produced more variability in teachers' MLQ responses. Teachers tended to be more divided in their perceptions about the effectiveness of their principals' leadership styles, when the principal was exercising instructional leadership strategies. Thus, the MLQ may not be a suitable instrument for measuring principals' leadership in the context of educational accountability policy. More research needs to be conducted to see if this finding is robust in other states given their accountability contexts.