Date of Award

Spring 1982

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Martin, Thomas

Second Advisor

Ivanoff, John

Third Advisor

Dupuis, A.


The emergence of the principalship was an organizational necessity which accompanied the growth of American schooling. Through gradual development and refinement, the current concept of the building principal took shape. Only in recent decades has educational administration come to be regarded by many as an applied behavioral science. Myriad efforts have been made to isolate and measure the factors which mark the individual who, when granted the formal leadership role, would be able to sustain a followership. Efforts to discriminate between leaders and nonleaders through personality traits have been unsuccessful. Some current approaches to the study of leadership tend to incorporate an examination of leadership style, viewing leader behavior as a combination of concern for relationships and concern for task. The adaptability of the principal's leadership style was the specific aspect of leader behavior examined in this study. Anxiety, one of the factors impacting upon educational leadership, emanates from the press of decisions and responsibility. Increased expectations have added pressure with the potential to translate into stress and resultant anxiety. The major purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between anxiety levels and adaptability of leadership styles in elementary principals. The findings of this research indicate that principals studied perceive themselves as having lower levels of anxiety than the national norms for adults. The anxiety levels of the principals were not found to be related to the ability of a principal to adapt his or her leadership style appropriately to the specific situation requiring administrative leadership. It appears that we cannot predict adaptability of leadership style from the existing levels in elementary principals. Regarding the level of adaptability, it was found that there was greater congruity for perception from principal to teacher in nonpublic schools as opposed to the public schools. Public school principals were not found to be either more or less adaptable than their nonpublic counterparts.



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