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Leadership behaviors of site-based and nonsite-based middle school principals

Karen M Jones, Johnson & Wales University


The challenge of educational leadership in the era of reform is to improve school effectiveness by enlisting the support and re-conceptualizing the roles and responsibilities among schools, the community, and the larger society. In recent years, the leadership role of the principal has been transformed because of new governance structures associated with site-based management. This study was designed to compare principals self-perceptions of their leadership behaviors using the Diagnostic Assessment of School and Principal Effectiveness (DASPE) and measure the factors of maintenance, adaptation, goal attainment, integration and school effectiveness in site-based and nonsite-based managed middle schools from nine eastern and southern states. The sample for this study included a total of (n = 106) site-based and nonsite-based managed public middle school principals. Due to the small sample size generalizations to the entire population of middle school principals may not be supported. The results of the five research questions regarding principals' perceptions of their behaviors and school effectiveness in the areas of adaptation, goal attainment, integration, and maintenance when subjected to treatment by both descriptive and inferential statistical analysis indicated that there were no differences found between site-based and nonsite-based managed middle school principals. Post Hoc analysis findings yielded significance indicating that non-site based with greater than seven years of teaching experience perceived themselves stronger in the areas of goal attainment and integration. It is difficult to ascertain if any single cause could be directly linked to site-based managed and nonsite-based managed principals' unusually high perceptions of their effectiveness. It is possible, however, that lack of cohesive structural change, inadequate time to self-reflect, and the very nature of group dynamics and site-based committees' structure and lack of member longevity are all major components that affect site-based principals' perceptions of their effectiveness. More research is needed to determine whether site-based management models are resulting in principals changing leadership behaviors. The results of this study indicate there are no differences in the leadership behaviors of principals operating in site-based and nonsite-based managed environments. Yet research consistently demonstrates that there is a distinct difference in the leadership skill set used in traditional educational management.

Subject Area

School administration|Business education

Recommended Citation

Jones, Karen M, "Leadership behaviors of site-based and nonsite-based middle school principals" (2003). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3135664.