Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smidchens

Second Advisor

Dr. Patrick M. Jenlink

Third Advisor

Dr. David M . Blomquist


The purpose of this study was to determine if the leadership style behaviors of principals were related to the existence of effective schools. Leadership style behaviors of principals of Wisconsin public schools recognized as effective by the Blue Ribbon Schools Program were compared to a random sample of principals of Wisconsin public schools not identified as effective to determine if principals of effective schools demonstrated more democratic, participative leadership style behaviors. The relationship of elementary and secondary principals' leadership style behaviors to the existence of effective schools was also studied.

A Personal Data Sheet for demographic data and the Self-Scoring Survey of Educational Leadership by Nelson and Valenti (1993 ) were completed. The demographic data included a comprehensive background of principals' school structure, enrollment, gender, principal experience, degree, and teaching experience. The ideal leadership style behavior was defined as the most ideal way for a principal to handle an educational situation. The actual behavior provided additional data and was defined as the behavior the leader expects from teachers in handling a situation. A t test for independent means with a one-tailed directional test was computed. An alpha level of .05 was used to test the hypotheses.

Analysis of the demographic data indicated that the tw o sample groups were similar. From the findings that resulted from testing the hypothesis, it can be concluded that Wisconsin principals of effective, recognized Blue Ribbon Schools prefer to practice a greater frequency of ideal democratic, participative leadership style behaviors than Wisconsin principals of nonrecognized schools. The second hypothesis involved elementary principals which resulted in the same conclusion. From the results of the first tw o hypotheses, it was concluded that there was a relationship of ideal leadership style behaviors of principals to the existence of effective schools. This third hypothesis involved secondary principals. No conclusion could be drawn. The three hypotheses were tested using actual leadership style behaviors. Again, no conclusions could be drawn. The frustration created as a result of practicing democratic, participative leadership style behaviors by both groups in an ideal way to handle a situation versus the actual, expected behaviors of teachers was compared.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access