The Superintendency: An Analysis of Leadership Roles and Gender Differences
Martinek, Cynthia Leonard
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The problem: Against the background of transformational leadership research indicating the need for superintendents to reexamine their leadership roles, this study describes the leadership roles superintendents currently perform, what they believe is important to their job, and the differences in perceptions of leadership roles between men and women superintendents. Procedures: Survey methodology obtained data from a questionnaire sent to 101 female and 99 male, randomly selected, K-12 practicing superintendents across the nation. Responses from 37 males and 20 females provided usable data for descriptive analyses of superintendent leadership roles. Furthermore, there were significant differences at the .05 and .01 level of significance between the performance of managerial, instructional leadership, and transformational leadership roles using a chi-square test on 495 leadership role descriptions. Findings: Findings indicate that male and female superintendents identify budget/finance and public relations as most important to their job. However, females also describe performing a broader array of leadership roles reflective of transformational leadership than males who describe performing managerial roles more often than females. Male and female superintendents identify an effective superintendent as a transformational leader, but indicate that board and community expectations, time, and paperwork prevent them from being a transformational superintendent. Respondents, however, describe a need for professional development related to transformational leadership: strategic planning, autonomy and interpersonal relationships, communication, consensus building, delegation, and risk taking, futuristic thinking. Conclusion: Results of the study may help guide educational institutions that offer superintendent educational institutions to develop transformational leadership curricula that will encourage more equal gender representation at the superintendency level of recognizing feminine leadership styles and focusing less on traditional management activities.
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