Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Zoe A. Barley

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield

Third Advisor

Dr. Darrell Clay


The context of teaching has dramatically changed over the last several decades following two national waves of educational reform. Researchers have focused attention on the social restructuring of schools (Liebermann, 1992) and appropriate leadership strategies, such as transformational leadership (Leithwood, 1993; Sergiovanni, 1990), for achieving comprehensive changes leading toward increased school effectiveness. Leadership that can stimulate "bottom-up" participation from teachers and principals in efforts to restructure schools has been recommended (Rowan, 1990; Sergiovanni, 1994). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between elementary principals’ use of transformational leadership strategies as determined by teacher reports and the presence within the schools of social organizational factors (Rosenholtz, 1989) associated with effective schools. Alternate variables that may explain teachers’ reports of their principals’ use of transformational leadership were also investigated.

Eighteen elementary principals and their faculties selected within a southwestern Michigan school district served as the sample for this study. Teachers (n=214) responded to both Bass’ Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (1990) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. and the School Organizational Factors Questionnaire (Rosenholtz, 1990). Seventeen principals responded to the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire with an average 54% teacher return rate.

Results of the data analysis demonstrated a significant correlation (r=.70; p=.00) between teachers’ reports of principals’ transformational leadership and their schools’ social organization. Moreover, principals categorized high in transformational leadership demonstrated a greater level of transformational leadership and led schools higher in social organization than did principals low in transformational leadership who led schools lower in social organization. These observed differences between the principal groups provided evidence that higher transformational principals were associated with schools that demonstrated enhanced levels of social organization reflective of effective schools. In addition, two intervening variables, principals’ years of service within their present building and school staff size, were found significant predictors of principals’ transformational leadership, and therefore, pose rival explanations to the observed relationship between principals’ transformational leadership and school social organization.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access