Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

May 1994


The problem was to determine certain factors which are perceived to limit the freedom superintendents have to implement change effectively. The purpose of the study was to determine the degree of autonomy with which superintendents in Tennessee may effectively make decisions regarding educational change. There are 138 public school superintendents, of which 132 (96%) participated in this study. The research was of a descriptive nature and utilized data gathered from a survey instrument constructed by the researcher. A questionnaire developed by Dr. John T. Haro in 1990 for a similar study in California was used as a basis for the development of the instrument to measure the factors that limit the superintendent's freedom to effect change. Additionally, the variables of the school district, the superintendent's demographic data, and the superintendent's relationship with various constituencies were examined. Once the instrument was altered, it was reviewed by eleven former school superintendents for further modification. The new instrument was then piloted with 15 assistant superintendents to complete the validation process. Findings include the following. More than 90% of the respondents reported having moderate to much freedom in effecting school district change. The values of the community had the most influence on the freedom to implement change of any variable, while school boards provided the most support for change. Superintendents with less than 10 years of experience reported that they were less free to implement change than were their peers with 11 to 20 years of experience. Superintendents with master's degrees considered site level administrators to be less limiting to change than did those with master's degrees plus. Superintendents from urban, suburban, and rural settings offered no significant difference in their response to the survey.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted