Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Dr. Larry McNeal

Committee Member

Dr. Misawa Mitsunori

Committee Member

Dr. Reginald Green

Committee Member

Dr. E. Renee' Sanders-Lawson


Schools nationwide are experimenting with methods that promise to better educate students and improve schools performance. The educational structure in the United States has been moving from primarily centralized systems to more decentralized ones. Shared decision making is designed to improve education by increasing the autonomy of the school staff to make school site decisions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the actual and desired levels of shared decision making as perceived by teachers in public elementary schools in West Tennessee. In this study two research questions were posed: (1) How do teachers and principals rank the educational goals at the school and (2) To what extent do urban, suburban and rural elementary school teachers have interest to participate in making decisions. The population for this study consisted of 400 public West Tennessee elementary schools as found in the SDE Tennessee Directory (2007) which comprised of 15% of the elementary teachers and principlas. Two survey instruments were used in this study: a questionnaire for principals consisting of 44 questions and a questionnaire for teachers containing 49 questions. The results of the ANOVA revealed that decision making comittees are bound to function more effectively where ther leader of the committee is strong, and involves others in the decision making as well as implementation phases. It was also concluded that participatory leadership is no longer a taboo topic to discuss in elementary schools. Finally, this study found that based on data collected, there is a lack of parental and community support and involvement. Based on data results from this study, it appears demoncratic leadership is the best style of leadership that will enhance sustained and progressive students' performance in public schools regardless if the school is in a rural, urban or suburban area. It will help to avoid frustration for teachers not being involved in decision making processes on matters affecting their functions, particulary in suburban schools as this study concluded.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.