Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Richard E. Munsterman

Second Advisor

Dr. Carol Sheffer

Third Advisor

Dr. Edsel Erickson


Elementary principals have a major role in the educational system. However, research addressing their priorities, activities, and performance is limited. Studies indicate a relationship between principal performance and school effectiveness and achievement of students. This investigation identified factors which may be associated with principal effectiveness: length of time in the principalship, gender, level of self-confidence, and leader style. It proposed that there is a relationship between principals' priorities and activities. It predicted that there are differences in the priorities and degree of participation in activities between new and experienced principals, male and female principals, self-confident and less self-confident principals, and principals with an effective leader style and those with less effective leader styles. It further proposed that the relationship between priorities and activities is different within designated pairs of subgroups. Finally, it predicted that there is a relationship between priorities of the principals and perceptions expressed by superintendents and teachers. A stratified random sampling of 20 elementary principals in Berrien County, Michigan, comprised four equal subgroups: new male, experienced male, new female, and experienced female. Subjects were interviewed, and four instruments were administered. A ranking of 10 areas--five associated with effectiveness--identified principals' perceptions of role priorities. A log of participation, based upon these same areas, determined how time was utilized for 2 days. The Adjective Check List determined principals' levels of self-confidence, and the Styles of Management Inventory identified their leader styles. Each principal's superintendent and teachers also completed the ranking, indicating perceptions of the principal's activities. Analysis of the findings did not show support for the hypotheses. Speculation regarding factors affecting the outcome include sample size and homogeneity, accuracy of responses, and number of years of experience used in structuring subgroups. Although length of service, gender, level of self-confidence, and leader style did not appear to affect role perception or utilizaton of time, principals indicated awareness of areas of responsibility associated with effectiveness. Additional studies could further clarify the role of the elementary principal and factors associated with principal effectiveness. The theory of effectiveness was introduced as a framework for these investigations.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access