Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. James Davenport

Second Advisor

Dr. Herbert Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. David Cowden


The Problem. The purpose of this inquiry was to study elementary principals' responses to decisions. Situations that required a decision from the principal originated: (1) with superordinates, (2) with peers, (3) with the principal himself, (4) with subordinates, (5) with students, and (6) outside the formal school organization. The principals' responses studied were: (1) rely on self, (2) consult with a confidante, (3) consult with a group, (4) delegate the decision to others, and (5) decide to make no decision. Further purposes of the study were to: (1) assemble and analyze data related to decision origins and principals' responses, (2) present findings of the analysis, and (3) use the findings and conclusions as a foundation for suggesting possible pattens to principals and others about decision origin and decision-maker response.

Method. Data were obtained through the use of a questionnaire/interview schedule. The questionnaire/interview schedule was developed and administered as follows: (1) Principals were surveyed to determine what kind of decision origins they encountered and what kind of responses to those decisions they might use. (2) A preliminary instrument was developed and pretested using Michigan elementary principals from Battle Creek, Mt. Pleasant, Lake City, Cadillac, and Detroit. (3) A final instrument was administered to a random sample of Michigan Public Elementary Principals. (4) Data analysis followed administration of the final instrument.

Conclusions. In so far as the techniques employed may be valid, the following conclusions seem justified: (1) Principals were found to deal with no decision origin more than any other origin. (2) Principals were found to choose the responses "rely on self" and "consult with a group" statistically (.05 level) more than the other responses studied. (3) Principals were found to have an individual pattern of response to decision origin. (4) An overall pattern of response to decision origin could statistically be established. The pattern indicated there is an emphasis on subordinate and student origins leading to principal's response "rely on self" or "consult with group". (5) There are patterns to elementary principals' responses to decision origins.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access