First Advisor

William D. Greenfield

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Administration


Educational Leadership and Policy




High schools -- Administration, High school principals, Leadership



Physical Description

4, xi, 202 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


This study focused on leadership and its correlates. Theory and research both point to the centrality of the principal's leadership role in school effectiveness. Yet, few studies of school leadership actually examine relationships among leadership variables. This study examined, from the perspective of high school teachers, three leadership correlates: principal vision, environmental robustness and teacher autonomy. Principal vision was conceptualized as the capacity of the principal to see the difference between what is and what might be, thus enabling others to accept and act on the possibilities of what might be. Environmental robustness was defined as the perceived dramatic content of the school structure. Teacher autonomy was referred to as the extent to which teachers perceived they were able to maintain professional discretion and independence in their classrooms. It is believed that these variables do not stand alone but are interwoven in the leadership discussion. Principal vision is only as powerful a concept as the context in which it is shared (environmental robustness) and the receptivity and willingness to respond to it by the followers (teacher sense of autonomy). This study examined the collective perspective that high school teachers have regarding these three variables. Data were collected from 1338 high school teachers in 34 public high schools in Oregon. The school was the statistical unit of analysis. Mean scores were calculated for each of the three variables and subscales within each variable. Data were statistically analyzed using the Pearson product moment correlation and ANOVA. The study hypothesized a significant positive relationship between principal vision and environmental robustness; principal vision and teacher autonomy; environmental robustness and teacher autonomy. Using the Pearson product moment correlation as the statistical test, positive relationships were observed for all three of the hypotheses. The strongest of the relationships was found between principal vision and environmental robustness. Although not as strong, a significant positive relationship was also found between environmental robustness and teacher autonomy. While principal vision and teacher autonomy demonstrated the weakest correlation, there were several significant relationships among the vision and autonomy subscales. This study found stronger correlations among the three variables at the high school than were found in an earlier study at the elementary level and explores reasons for those differences. This study also investigated relationships among the theoretical variables and several contextual variables including demographic and school improvement indicators. After data were collected and analyzed, several principals of participating schools were interviewed regarding visionary attributes of their leadership roles in their schools. These interviews provided a broader perspective in understanding and interpreting the findings. This study concluded by considering implications of the relationships among these three variables and their impact in creating and sustaining effective instructional leadership. Of significant interest were the implications for the hiring processes for high school principals.


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