Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 1-1-2017


Worldwide Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Professional Doctorate in Educational Leadership (ProDEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Connie Moss

Committee Member

Rick McCown

Committee Member

John Wilkinson


Collaboration, Culture and Climate, Perceptions, Principals, School Counselors, Theory/theories


This study employed perceptions of school counselors relative to their relationships with their principals in order to investigate a theory of action that employs the skills and strategies embedded in counseling theory to identify courses of action that counselors can use to improve the principal-counselor relationship. School counselors attending national and state counselor conferences (N=31) responded to a prompt asking for the perceived strengths and weaknesses of their principal-counselor relationship, and the barriers they perceived to improving the relationship. Responses were analyzed using a close reading process that applied a strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats (SWOT) framework to the responses and identified emergent themes across the 245 response statements. The analyses revealed that the participating counselors attributed the responsibility for the strengths and weakness of their principal-counselor relationship to their principals rather than to themselves. In nearly half of the responses (47%) counselors attributed ownership of issues to principals while only 8.9% of the statements were attributed to counselor ownership. To gauge the utility of the theory of action the study also applied counseling theory to the responses from four counselor participants to highlight courses of action with a high potential for improving the principal counselor relationship. The study suggests that the application of counseling theory and the skills and strategies embedded in the theories may hold promise for helping counselors take ownership of their relationships with their principals through increased self-efficacy for relationship building and improvement.