Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Richard C. A'Hearn

Second Advisor

Carl G. Thom

Third Advisor

John Ivanoff

Fourth Advisor

Harold E. Zirbel

Fifth Advisor

Thomas Martin


If society and the schools have changed since the 1950s, has then the work of the elementary and middle school principal changed commensurately? By using earlier measures of perceptions of the principal's performance from the studies of Griffiths (1958) and Halpin (1956), this present study attempted to show whether or not changes have occurred in the perceptions of that performance during the past 30 years. One hundred twenty-four elementary schools and 18 middle schools of the Milwaukee Public Schools were used to gather the research data. In each school the principal and ten randomly selected teachers were asked to participate in the study. The first three research hypotheses, all stated in null form, tested for a statistical significance in staff's perceptions of the principal's behavior in the elementary and middle school principalship in terms of (1) Initiating Structure, (2) Consideration, and (3) Administrative Performance and Personality over the past 25 years. The last two hypotheses tested for a statistical significance of the principal's own perceptions of the ideal principal in terms of (4) Initiating Structure, and (5) Consideration for the same period. The 526 teachers who responded to the survey were asked to fill out Griffiths' PBDQ (Real) and the Teacher Reaction Form. The 67 principals who responded to the study filled out the PBDQ (Ideal). Each group also filled out a demographic data form. For all five hypotheses tested, a two-tailed, t -test was used. The major results of the study were as follows: Given the calculated values of t in each of the five hypotheses, the null hypotheses in all five cases were rejected (p $<$.01). The current study showed that there was a significant difference in current perceptions in each of the five hypotheses. Based on the data recorded in the current study, with staff and principal perceptions of Initiating Structure now higher than Consideration, the results supported the belief that principals are now perceived as being more concerned with organizational goals than with consideration for staff. Recommendations for further research were made with this in mind.


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