Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Administration and Supervision

First Advisor's Name

James A. Hale

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Peter J. Cistone

Third Advisor's Name

Stephen Loveless


School management and organization, Control (Psychology)

Date of Defense



The theoretical construct of control has been defined as necessary (Etzioni, 1965), ubiquitous (Vickers, 1967), and on-going (E. Langer, 1983). Empirical measures, however, have not adequately given meaning to this potent construct, especially within complex organizations such as schools. Four stages of theory-development and empirical testing of school building managerial control using principals and teachers working within the nation's fourth largest district are presented in this dissertation as follows: (1) a review and synthesis of social science theories of control across the literatures of organizational theory, political science, sociology, psychology, and philosophy; (2) a systematic analysis of school managerial activities performed at the building level within the context of curricular and instructional tasks; (3) the development of a survey questionnaire to measure school building managerial control; and (4) initial tests of construct validity including inter-item reliability statistics, principal components analyses, and multivariate tests of significance. The social science synthesis provided support of four managerial control processes: standards, information, assessment, and incentives. The systematic analysis of school managerial activities led to further categorization between structural frequency of behaviors and discretionary qualities of behaviors across each of the control processes and the curricular and instructional tasks. Teacher survey responses (N=486) reported a significant difference between these two dimensions of control, structural frequency and discretionary qualities, for standards, information, and assessments, but not for incentives. The descriptive model of school managerial control suggests that (1) teachers perceive structural and discretionary managerial behaviors under information and incentives more clearly than activities representing standards or assessments, (2) standards are primarily structural while assessments are primarily qualitative, (3) teacher satisfaction is most closely related to the equitable distribution of incentives, (4) each of the structural managerial behaviors has a qualitative effect on teachers, and that (5) certain qualities of managerial behaviors are perceived by teachers as distinctly discretionary, apart from school structure. The variables of teacher tenure and school effectiveness reported significant effects on school managerial control processes, while instructional levels (elementary, junior, and senior) and individual school differences were not found to be significant for the construct of school managerial control.




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