Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. David Cowden

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield

Third Advisor

Dr. Martha Warfield


The purpose of this study was to examine the devolution of power as it is expressed by the extent of teacher involvement in shared decision making. Extent of both actual and desired involvement and the differences between them were investigated. Teachers were considered adequately empowered when there was no difference between the actual and desired results. The survey Teacher DecisionMaking Instrument {TDI), developed and validated by Dr. Donna L. Ferrara, was administered to K-12 teachers in a public school district in southeast Michigan.

The larger context of this study is the reform initiative called site-based management (SBM). Seen as an issue of power, SBM involves the devolution and transformation of power. Viewed as an issue of educational practice, it involves shared/participatory decision making (SDM). This study has concluded that shared decision making is a way in which the devolution of power becomes concrete. Teachers are effectively empowered when a balance has been achieved between their actual and desired involvement in decision making.

Three research questions guided this study. The first two respectively addressed teachers' perceptions in the extent of actual and desired involvement in decision making. The third addressed the extent of empowerment or difference between the reported actual and desired involvement. Outcomes for the first question indicate that teachers report low levels of actual involvement in four of the eight Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. categories and a medium to high level in the remaining four categories. The administrator acting alone was the dominant decision-making strategy. Outcomes for the second question indicate that staff desire a high level of participation in four of the eight categories and a medium to high level of involvement in the remaining four categories. The preferred decision-making strategy was for the administrator to share or delegate decision making. Outcomes for the third question indicate teachers experience equilibrium or adequate empowerment in seven of the eight categories. However, when the two levels of deprivation are combined, seven of the eight categories identify pronounced levels of deprivation. In conclusion, these results indicate that the extent of teacher participation in decision making varies with the situation, but that overall, teachers experience deprivation of empowerment/participation.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access