A comparison of principal leadership behaviors among effective and ineffective schools in the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky

Leonard Francis Callahan, Fordham University


Considerable research has been directed toward determining the relationship between leadership and school effectiveness. This study investigated the levels of leadership effectiveness of four parochial school principals in schools that had gained recognition as effective schools, and compared these principals with four principals in parochial schools in the same diocese that had yet to achieve such recognition. Each effective school was paired with an ineffective school. The Principal Profile developed by Leithwood and Montgomery (1984) was used to develop a behavioral profile for each principal. The profile described four levels of principal effectiveness across 28 behavioral sub-dimensions. Data were collected by means of a structured interview, supported by a triangulation of interview response by interview with a subordinate and superordinate of the principal. The following hypotheses were tested: (1) Principals in effective schools display a common set of leadership behaviors. (2) Principals in effective schools function at relatively high levels of effectiveness. (3) Principals in ineffective schools do not display the same behaviors as principals of effective schools, and the range of their leadership behaviors varies. (4) Principals in ineffective schools function over a wider range of effectiveness levels than principals in effective schools. (5) Principals in effective and ineffective schools which have similar characteristics display a high degree of common leadership behaviors. The major conclusions were: (1) Principals in effective schools exhibit many common behaviors and make use of a wide range of behaviors in response to environmental stimuli. (2) Principals in schools that are ineffective differ in the scope of their behaviors in response to similar situations. (3) Principals in effective schools function at high levels of effectiveness. (4) Principals ineffective schools vary considerably in levels of effectiveness and it is not possible to predict at what level of effectiveness these principals function. There are many principals in ineffective schools that exhibit effective behaviors. (5) The profiles of behaviors of principals in demographically similar schools show common trends regardless of whether schools have been recognized as effective or not.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Callahan, Leonard Francis, "A comparison of principal leadership behaviors among effective and ineffective schools in the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9136318.