Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Carol A. Mullen, Ph.D.


Decision-making models, Administration, Qualitative, Interviews, Framework


This research study explored practitioners' perceived understanding and situational use of seven decision-making models of educational administration. In examining the extant literature of the field, the following research problem emerged to guide this study: scholars and practitioners struggle to understand how school administrators make workplace decisions, and how school leaders perceive their decision-making strategies and actions. Based upon Pettigrew's (1985) Conceptual Framework of Organizational Change and relevant literature (see chapter 2), the researcher developed a series of questions in order to explore the aforementioned purpose and problem. Specifically, three principals, three assistant principals of curriculum, and three assistant principals for student affairs within three high schools in a large county district in west central Florida were interviewed. Research questions were developed.The questions addressed high school administrators' knowledge/famili

arity and use of seven decision-making models found in extant literature (see chapter 2). The researcher also focused on how leaders perceive they make decisions in various situations, and whom and to what extent they use other educational stakeholders to make these decisions. Administrators' answers ranged widely, depending on the situation presented and/or the decision-making model discussed. Three themes/patterns/ideas emerged from survey and interview data (see chapter 5). The disconnect between leaders' decision-making model familiarity and usage was highlighted. Administrators employed classical or traditional decision-making with situations that provided ample information and guidelines. However, leaders tended to switch to the incremental or mixed-scanning model when information was lacking or policies/guidelines were unclear. Administrators strongly preferred shared leadership and suggestions for future research in the area of administration decision-making range from more emp

irical studies within the practitioner field to supplementing the academy's curriculum, employing simulations and active learning regarding models of decision-making.