Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

May 1995


The purpose of this study is to determine the level of Machiavellian attitudes acknowledged by secondary school principals as measured by the Mach V Attitude Inventory Scale. The data were collected from an ex post facto survey of 169 public and nonpublic secondary school principals, grades 9-12. Principals completed the Mach V scale and a 13-item demographic survey. Sixteen research questions were formulated to examine the relationship among the variables which produced seventeen null hypotheses. Of the seventeen null hypotheses, four were found to be significant and thirteen were nonsignificant. A review of the descriptive data indicated that the majority of Tennessee secondary school principals acknowledge low-Machiavellian attitudes. In addition, the data indicated that the gender of the principals reflected a significant difference in Machiavellian attitude. Significant differences were found in the subgroups of views, morality, and tactics based on their total Machiavellian score. The descriptive data were generated by using a frequency distribution, t-tests for independent means, and one-way analysis of variance. The following conclusions of the study are offered: (1) Principals acknowledge that they possess low-Machiavellian attitudes. (2) The findings of this study are parallel with those of Christie and Geis who found that educators tend to be low-Machiavellian. (3) Female principals are more Machiavellian than male principals. (4) leadership at exemplary secondary schools is not provided by high-Machiavellian principals. (5) On the basis of the demographic information, a typical secondary school principal is defined as follows: a male Caucasian who has served 1 to 7 years as a public school principal and has 24 to 31 years of educational experience and who is satisfied with his position, serves an appointed superintendent, and desires to remain in his position as principal. (6) Based on the high rate of return and the even distribution of responses from the three areas of East, Middle, and West Tennessee, the results of the survey are descriptive of all secondary school principals. In addition, the even distribution and rate of return indicate that principals are interested in responding to research studies involving leadership attitudes. (7) Low-Machiavellian principals are serving superintendents who were appointed. (8) The subscores of views, morality, and tactics reflect a level of Machiavellian attitudes similar to the total Machiavellian scores of Tennessee secondary school principals, indicating that the Mach V Attitude Inventory Scale is a valid instrument for measuring Machiavellian attitudes.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access