Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership


Due to mounting school improvement demands, the role of the principal has increasingly received pressure throughout the past decade. Although frequently referred to as the catalyst for effective school change, few empirical studies exist addressing organizational variables influencing this key administrative position. It has strongly been suggested that the interpersonal relationship principals share with their superintendent may affect the principal's job satisfaction and performance evaluation.

The purpose of this study was to examine the situational effect of dyadic similarity on the superintendent-principal interpersonal relationship. Specifically, the study explored the relationship of managerial, dyadic similarity and subordinate outcomes. According to similarity theory, individuals are attracted to and respond more favorably to those most like themselves. Thus, the reasoning that the greater the dyadic similarity, the greater the principal's ratings for job satisfaction and performance evaluation. An additional variable examined by this study was the effect of specific personality characteristics, locus of control, on the primary similarity-outcomes relationship.

The target population was the 525 K-12 Michigan school district administrative dyads, from which a random sample of 104 superintendent- high school principal pairs were taken. A mailed questionnaire was used to collect data from which the independent variable, similarity, was correlated by the Pearson product-moment correlational coefficient, with the dependent variables, job satisfaction-performance evaluations. Results indicated that there was weak support for the relationship of dyadic similarity and subordinate job satisfaction. The results did not substantiate a relationship between similarity and subordinate performance ratings. Further, there was little support for administrative personality characteristics, that is, internality-externality, affecting the similarity subordinate outcomes relationship.

It thus appears that while there may be aspects of the similarity variable that interacts with subordinate outcomes, this study was unable to uncover a relationship of substantial magnitude. However, although not entirely supportive, there is implied the need for further examination of the specific personality characteristics of educational leaders and the potential to "match" dyadic pairs to maximize organizational outcomes.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access