Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Darlene Bruner, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Bobbie Greenlee, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Bill Young, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Yi-Hsin Chen, Ph.D.


Leadership, School Principal, MLQ, Transactional Leadership, Transformational Leadership, Gender, Ethnicity


The purpose of this descriptive, quantitative, non-experimental, cross-sectional study was to determine the self-perceived leadership style of principals in an era of accountability. The research instrument was the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire with added demographic questions. In addition to the determination of the self-perceived principal leadership style, the intention of this study was to determine the possible relationship of demographic variables such as principal gender, experience, ethnicity, school type (elementary, middle school, and high school), school grade, and school socioeconomic status determined by Title I on leadership styles. The participants of the study were principals from three large school districts in the state of Florida. The dependent variable was the principal leadership style categorized on the Multi-Factor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) as transactional, transformational, or laissez-faire. The MLQ also determined the use of behaviors categorized as laissez-faire, authoritative, or participative. The independent variables were the demographic variables, principal gender, ethnicity, years of experience as a school principal, school type (elementary, middle, and high school), school grade, and school socioeconomic status defined by Title I.

The data were analyzed with descriptive statistics, correlation analysis, and a series of Factorial ANOVAs to examine the research questions. The results found moderate differences among the demographic variables gender, ethnicity, school level, SES, and change in school grade. No differences were found between leadership styles and the years of experience for principals. The findings of the study may have significance for principals of elementary, middle, and high schools in the identification of different leadership approaches and styles in an era of accountability. The findings of the study may also provide a benefit for principals of schools examining alternative leadership methods to motivate teachers and students to improve academic outcomes.