Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Arthur Shapiro, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

William Benjamin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steve Permuth, Ed.D.


Education, School leaders, Policy, Academics, Administration


Considerable research has been conducted over time on possible gender differences, with varying results regarding the existence and/or degree of differences. In particular, research on differences in leadership practices of men and women have abounded since the 1970s as women began to make their way into management and supervisory positions.

In todays work force, several generations can be found working together within a single work setting. Possibly, differences in leadership may be more generational than gender related; however, little research has considered both gender and generation as variables. This study adds to literature relating to the existence of gender and/or generational differences in leadership through a quantitative study enhanced with follow-up interviews conducted within four Florida counties.

Quantitative results revealed no statistically significant gender or generational differences in perceived leadership practices of elementary school administrators. However, interviews revealed that perception of both gender and generational differences exists among practicing school administrators.

The results suggest that school districts have succeeded in "teaching old dogs new tricks." This implication is supported in the interview responses whereby all of the participants indicated that in-service training and professional development were key factors that influenced their leadership practices, possibly minimizing gender and/or generational differences in leadership practices. The differing results from the interview responses imply that school districts may need to provide more opportunities for school leaders to engage in dialogue about their practices, thus providing peer administrators with a more accurate picture of their colleagues practices.

Further research on the opportunities school leaders are afforded to engage dialogue with their peers about their practices may provide further insight into the interview responses in this study. The size of the school district should be a variable of interest in further research on this topic. Continued research on gender and generational leadership differences may include a larger sample population, secondary school leaders, peer perceptions, and subordinate perceptions.