Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Richard E. Munsterman

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Anne Bunda

Third Advisor

Dr. Gene S. Booker


The literature demonstrates that the dramatic growth in school district size and the increased technical complexity within which school systems must now operate have forced local boards of education into dependence relationships with their key administrative personnel. Consequently, school business officials were thought to be in a position to exercise considerable influence in the decision-making processes of their boards of education because of the technical aspects and uncertainties associated with the responsibilities of that particular role function. It is the nature and extent of this potential for influence which was the focal point of this investigation.

The methodology used for this investigation was an ex post facto field study with a "perceived influence" instrument being the primary method of data collection. The basic sampling units for the study were school districts in Michigan which were termed "average size" by virtue of their being within 500 students of the national average size (2,700).

The primary levels of the independent variable were the school business officials and the school board presidents of these specified districts. Various demographic data facilitated the introduction of secondary independent variables for data analysis purposes. The questionnaire was designed to yield a numerical representation of the dependent variable--the amount of power (potential of influence) perceived to be possessed by the school business officials. Eighty percent of the 66 potential matched data sets responded.

Research questions were developed to guide the investigation. Three research questions were examined through hypothesis testing. Two research questions were addressed descriptively. Some conclusions drawn from the descriptive data were subject to the limitations associated with a prior interpretation of those data.

The results of the data analysis led to the following conclusions about school business officials in average size Michigan school districts: (1) They have "considerable" power (potential for influence) in the decision-making processes of their boards, as measured by this instrument. (2) Their perception and their board presidents' perception of that power are similar. (3) Neither their perception nor their board presidents' perception of that power differs according to the professional orientation of the school business official. (4) There is little, if any, relationship between the boards' perception of their power and their amount of experience.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access