Influences upon decision-making of board of education members

Lynne Gertrude Farrell, Fordham University


This study investigated the influence upon decision-making behaviors of school-board members and examined analytical strategies used by them in their decision-making. The subjects consisted of 31 board members in 10 Connecticut communities. The instruments used were: (a) a public influence questionnaire, which elicited board members' opinions as to the extent to which individuals and groups were influential in their decisions in six issues-areas (AIDS, racial balance, educational enhancement, smoking, instructional leadership, and budget); (b) a decision-making questionnaire, which elicited board members' perceptions of the importance of and the extent of use of seven analytical strategies in making decisions in the six issue-areas; (c) a demographic profile, which elicited data as to the respondents' relationships to the school systems; and (d) an interview schedule, which elicited the personal beliefs of the respondents as to perceived pressures placed upon them. One-way analysis of variance procedures, with repeated measures, were used for the analyses of data obtained through the two questionnaires. Content analyses of data from the demographic profile and the interview schedule provided explanations for some of the findings of the study. The superintendent was the strongest influence and was first in the exertion of pressure. Provision of information was the primary way by which pressure was exerted. Instructional leadership and budget were the primary areas in which pressure was exerted. Board members' electoral competition and political affiliation had no relationship to their decisions. Relationships to one another did have an effect upon board members' decisions. Board members' perceptions of the importance of and the extent of use of the analytical strategies were significant for 5 of 36 combinations of issue and position on the issue (opposed to, neutral, in favor of). The influences upon board members did have a significant effect upon their decisions. Analytical strategies were valid for studying decision-making of board members. Further research should be conducted using different communities and additional subjects. The study should be used for the continued study of influences upon the decision-making processes.

Subject Area

School administration|Public administration

Recommended Citation

Farrell, Lynne Gertrude, "Influences upon decision-making of board of education members" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9007179.