Date of Award

Summer 8-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Marcia A. B. Delcourt, PhD

Second Advisor

Donald J. Treffinger, PhD

Third Advisor

Janice Jordan, PhD


Instructional leadership is not well-defined in the literature. The term has been used to describe the principal’s role as an instructional leader. However, principals are not the only instructional leaders. Teachers are as well. In this study, data on leadership and problem solving style were collected one time from 378 educators in K-12 school settings in the northeast of the U.S. The purpose is to provide an empirical evidence of what describes instructional leadership.

The results of a 4x4x4 MANOVA indicated that there were significant differences between educators’ scores on the leadership subscales for the Orientation to Change (OC): Explorer-Developer (F(3, 290) = 8.236, p < .001, partial eta squared = .079) and the Manner of Processing (MP): External-Internal (F(3, 290) = 4.597, p = .004, partial eta squared = .045) groups. The OC subgroups differed significantly in the areas of transformational leadership (F(3, 290) = 6.956, p < .001, partial eta squared = .067) and passive/avoidant leadership (F(3, 290) = 4.438, p = .005, partial eta squared = .044). The MP subgroups differed significantly in the areas of transformational leadership (F(3, 290) = 3.683, p = .012, partial eta squared = .037) and passive/avoidant leadership (F(3, 290) = 3.128, p = .026, partial eta squared = .031). There were no significant differences in mean scores of all types of leadership for the Ways of Deciding (WD) group. Furthermore, there were no significant interactions between VIEW groups. All VIEW groups scored the highest on transformational leadership and the lowest on passive/avoidant leadership.

Three stepwise multiple regression analyses were used to determine the extent that educators’ gender, years of teaching experience, highest degree earned, type of certificate, and scores on the problem solving styles predicted their perceptions of their leadership styles. Results indicated that the highest degree earned, educators’ preference for Orientation to Change: Explorer-Developer problem solving style, gender, and type of certificate were significant predictors of the variance in the mean scores of transformational leadership, R squared = .189, adjusted R squared = .179, F(4, 338) = 19.67, p < .001. There were no significant predictors of the mean scores of transactional leadership at the Bonferroni adjusted alpha of .0125. The type of certificate was the only significant predictor of the passive/avoidant leadership subscale, R squared = .049, adjusted R squared = .046, F(1, 341) = 17.40, p < .001.

Data from three open-ended questions related to the participants’ perceptions of leadership and problem solving were coded and analyzed. Four common overarching themes emerged: (a) personal characteristics, (b) knowledge and experience, (c) interactions with others, and (d) setting directions. The quantitative findings were then triangulated with the qualitative results to describe constructs of instructional leadership.