Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

December 1986


The problem of the study was to determine the perceived leadership behavior of female superintendents as compared to male superintendents. An instrument was constructed from American Association of Secondary Administrators' recommendations for superior performance of school administrators and subsequently validated. A demographic data sheet accompanied the survey instrument. The subjects were selected from southern states in which there were more than five women superintendents officially listed by the State Board of Education. The states included Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The survey instrument was forwarded to 350 subjects; 172 subjects responded from the five states. The sample was drawn from small school districts. The research design was a classic 2 x 2 tested by a one way ANOVA with Newman Keuls applied to determine the source of interaction. The hypotheses were stated in the null. There was a notable difference between the findings for the four selected southern states and Tennessee. Significance at the .10 level of confidence was revealed in male professionals' positive perception of the female superintendents' performance in policy making. The male professional rated the female superintendents at a level significantly different. (.05 level of confidence) than did women professionals who rated the male superintendents below average on the ability to suggest regulations. A similar pattern was revealed on the ability of the superintendent to communicate (.0005 level of confidence), preparation and defense of budget (.05 level of confidence), ability to select personnel (.05 level of confidence), perform leadership tasks (.05 level of confidence) and utilized human resources (.005 level of confidence). In Tennessee the null hypothesis was not challenged except in one category. Significance was found at the .10 level of confidence on the superintendents' ability to formulate evaluation policies. Female professionals rated male superintendents significantly lower than male professionals rated female superintendents. Female superintendents' behavior was consistently rated higher by both male and females in the four selected southern states. In Tennessee, the respondents showed a similar finding by rating the ability to formulate evaluation policies to favor the female superintendents. The divergence in findings was attributed to cohort bias.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted