Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2008


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Robert B. Bartos

Committee Member

James E. Henderson

Committee Member

Michael R. McGough


elementary principal, new principal, open school climate, school climate, transactional leadership, transformational leadership


This study sought to determine the relationship that exists between the leadership styles of first year elementary principals and the organizational climate of the schools to which they are assigned to lead. Using quantitative methodology, the research included 17 principals from elementary schools in Pennsylvania. These schools, located in eight different counties, covered geographical areas that were rural, suburban and urban. In addition to the 17 principals, 404 professional staff members participated in this study.

Principals completed the Leader Form of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ-5X), revealing self-perceptions of their use of a transformational, transactional or passive/avoidant style of leadership. Professional staff from the 17 elementary schools completed the Rater Form of the MLQ-5X, providing information on how they perceived their principals' approach to leadership. A one-way analysis of variance was conducted, revealing that a significant difference existed between the self-perceptions of the principals and the perceptions their staffs had in regards to their principal's leadership style. Despite a consistent perception by the principals that they used a more transformational style of leadership, this analysis indicated a disparity between that perception and the staff perception of the way they were leading.

The professional staff also responded to the Organizational Climate Description Questionnaire for Elementary Schools (OCDQ-RE), revealing their perception of the climate that existed in their schools. An examination of the descriptive statistics revealed that 13 of the schools could be classified as having open climates, one as having an engaged climate, one as having a disengaged climate and two as having closed climates. The 13 schools with open climates also had principals whose professional staff rated them higher in transformational factors and lower in transactional and passive/avoidant factors.

Correlation analysis was conducted to determine if there was a relationship between the factors of leadership and the climate behaviors. Results revealed that there was a significant relationship between schools having open or engaged climates and principals utilizing a transformational style of leadership. Similarly, there was a significant relationship between principals who exhibited more transactional leadership qualities and schools that had closed or disengaged organizational climates.