An Analysis of the Leader Behaviors of Career-Bound and Place-Bound Public School Superintendents in Iowa
Two types of superintendents are defined in the literature. Place-bound superintendents are promoted from within their present systems; career-bound superintendents are elected from outside. This study was made to determine whether the two career types exhibit different leader behaviors. The problem. The problem investigated was: Are there differences in either initiating structure or consideration behaviors between career-and place-bound superintendents? Procedure. A Career Patterns Questionnaire was designed and administered to all Iowa public school superintendents. Based upon the returns from 418 (ninety-three percent) of them, two samples were drawn, one of each career type, and were stratified according to school district enrollment. The Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire was administered to selected administrative staff members of the 174 subject superintendents. Five variables were analyzed: years in present position; age at first superintendency; Structure score, Consideration score; and total LBDQ score. Findings. Findings included: 1) Place-bound superintendents, compared to careerbound: a) had significantly longer terms in office; b} were significantly older in the largest and smallest districts when first attaining the superintendency; and c) were mildly higher in LBDQ scores, except in the next-to-smallest schools. 2) There were no significant differences in Structure, Consideration. or total LBDQ scores between the two career types. 3) Length of term in office was mildly negatively correlated with LBDQ scores. This negative correlation was stronger for place-bound men and for all structure scores. 4) Age at first superintendency was not strongly correlated with any of the leader behavior scores for either career type. S} In the largest schools, 25.0 percent of superintendents were place-bound; in the smallest, 13.2 percent were place-bound. 6) Sixty-eight percent of all place-bound superintendents had been high school principals immediately before attaining their present superintendencies. 7) For all superintendents, Structure and Consideration scores were highly correlated. 8) Eighty percent of career-bound superintendents in the largest schools had previously been superintendents, whereas forty-six percent of career-bound superintendents in the smallest schools had previously been superintendents. Conclusions. Conclusions included: 1) Place-bound superintendents wait longer for promotion than career-bound men, especially in the largest and smallest schools, and stay longer in their superintendencies. 2) The hypotheses of no differences in Initiating Structure or Consideration scores must be retained. 3) Total LBDQ scores are not significantly different between the two career types. 4) Length of term in office adversely affects administrative subordinates' perceptions of their superintendents' leader behaviors, especially Structure. This effect is accentuated by place-boundedness. 5) Age at first superintendency has no appreciable relationship to leader behavior scores. 6) Frequency of occurrence of place-boundedness is directly related to school district size. 7) The high school principalship is the main route to the superintendency for place-bound men. 8) Administrative staffs do not view Initiating Structure and Consideration as separate aspects of their leaders' behavior. 9) The smallest schools may serve as training grounds for career-bound superintendents. Recommendations. Recommendations were: 1) This study should be replicated, designed so that a one-tailed test may be used, with ratings secured from board members and teachers to test for a halo effect among the administrative staffs of place-bound superintendents. 2) Superintendents, especially place-bound, should be aware that perceived levels of Initiating Structure and Consideration decline as their tenures increase. J) Place-bound superintendents should consider moving after gaining experience in their home districts. 4) The superintendency in the smallest districts should be made more attractive to career-bound men, so that they stay longer.
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