Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Robert O. Brinkerhoff

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles C. Warfield

Third Advisor

Dr. David Blomquist


The purpose of this study was to examine the differences between school and business executives when making strategic decisions through a comparison of task variable analysis skills. The hypothesis for the study was: After reading a case study describing a strategic decision- making situation, business executives will have more correct responses than school executives on an author written evaluation instrument. The evaluation instrument was designed to measure the subjects' analysis skills of 10 different decision-making task variables.

Thirty Wisconsin school district superintendents and 30 business executives were randomly selected to participate in the study. The results indicated that the difference between the task variable analysis skills of school executives and business executives was not significant at the .10 level and the study's hypothesis was rejected.

Statistically significant differences were found in the analysis skills for some individual task variables. Business executives showed significantly better analysis skills on four task variables: functionary and accuracy, source and currency of information. The school executives did significantly better than business executives on two task variables: focus of accountability and frequency of use.

A further examination of the executives' number of years of experience, number of employees in their organization, and the organizational setting also indicated that the differences in analysis skills between the school and business executives were not statistically significant. The study's results and conclusion led to four recommendations including additional training for both business and school executives in task variable analysis skills, caution in using business executives as presenters for school executive training, restraint in adopting private sector management models, and more clarification concerning the role of school executives in education reform movements such as site-based decision making.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access