Off-campus ETSU users: To download "Campus Only" dissertations, please use the following link to log in to our proxy server with your ETSU username and password.

Non-ETSU users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Nancy Dishner

Committee Members

Russell F. West, Louise L. MacKay, Barbara Beauchamp


This study examines the relationship between principal leadership practices and teacher morale. A sample of ten public secondary schools, with a total of 664 teachers and ten principals, participated in this study.

The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI)(Kouzes and Posner, 2002) was used to gather information regarding the principals' leadership behaviors. Teacher morale was measured by using the Purdue Teacher Opinionaire (PTO)(Bentley & Rempel, 1968). The PTO provides a total score as a single measure of the general level of teacher morale while also providing ten subscale scores on different dimensions of teacher morale. Demographic data was gathered through the Tennessee State Department of Education website and through personal interviews with school officials.

Research questions explored teachers' overall level of morale, self-perceived and observer-perceived leadership practices of the principal, differences in teacher morale between less experienced and more experienced teachers, the specific leadership behaviors affecting teacher morale, and organizational and structural dimensions of each school that may impact teacher morale.

Results showed that teachers who participated in this study exhibited a moderately high degree of teacher morale. The principals who took part in this study exhibited a higher rating in self-perceived leadership practices than the level found in existing research. Principals in this study also indicated that they engaged in the identified leadership practices more frequently than their teachers' perceptions of their behavior. There were significant differences between teachers with five or fewer years of teaching experience and those with more than five years experience. In measuring the relationship between leadership practices and teacher morale, a positive correlation was revealed pertaining to each of the five factors.

In the analysis of school demographic characteristics and teacher morale, it was revealed that there was a relatively strong, positive relationship between teacher morale and Act scores as well as student matriculation to college. Recommendations for future research are presented.

Document Type

Dissertation - restricted


Copyright by the authors.