Effective leadership styles of superintendents and local school board members of the City of New York

Mary Elizabeth McLaughlin Treacy, Fordham University


This study used Reddin's Three-Dimensional Theory of Effective Leadership to determine the self-perceived leadership styles of the community school superintendents and the school board members, and the boards' perceptions of their respective superintendents, and compared the results to determine if harmonious leadership styles between the boards and the superintendents resulted in effective school districts as measured by the districts' achievement ranking on the 1989 New York City Reading Examination. The study also used a leadership problem questionnaire to examine the relationship between the superintendent and the board as to the problems of the district and the leader in their resolution. The subjects of the study consisted of 12 community school district superintendents and 63 corresponding board members. The instruments used were the Educational Administrative Style Diagnosis Test and the Leadership Problem Solving Questionnaire. The major conclusions of the study were: (a) that higher ranked districts displayed a greater variation of harmony and conflict than did the lower districts, where a higher degree of harmony was found; it was concluded that a mixture of harmony and conflict produced a more effective district as opposed to harmony alone; (b) that a negative perception of the superintendents' Task Orientation, which was also lower than the boards' self-perception, appeared to be related to less effectiveness as measured by the districts' achievement ranking; and (c) that where there was harmony between the superintendent and the board members as to the superintendent being the primary leader in the resolution of district problems, there was a more effective district. Several recommendations based on the conclusions of the study were: (a) that this study should be replicated using a larger number of districts; (b) that the scope of variables should be broadened and multi-variant techniques utilized to cluster the demographic variables to inspect the total effect of the variables upon the leadership dimension; (c) that future studies should include the superintendent's perceptions of the board members to provide a more complete description of the district's leadership styles; and (d) that the Chancellor, the Association of School Boards, and departments of administration and supervision of universities provide courses of training in leadership styles for potential administrators and board members.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

McLaughlin Treacy, Mary Elizabeth, "Effective leadership styles of superintendents and local school board members of the City of New York" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9123127.