Sign up

Authentic leadership and budget-building: superintendents reveal origins, strategies, and connections.
Abstract:
Superintendent leadership style and budget-building practices were studied in six southern states. Analyses reveal that leadership authenticity is positively and significantly correlated with budget-building transparency and information management. Fast-rising career patterns and superintendent self-described leadership styles were not found to be correlated with their budget-building practices. Several demographic factors were examined but only superintendent educational background, size of school district, and school district socioeconomic status were associated with budget-building transparency. Finally, superintendents in fiscally dependent school districts were found to be more transparent than superintendents in fiscally independent districts. Implications of these findings and recommendations for future inquiry are discussed.

Article Type:
Report
Subject:
Program budgeting (Methods)
School superintendents (Practice)
Leadership styles (Methods)
Authors:
Bird, James J.
Wang, Chuang
Pub Date:
09/01/2011
Publication:
Name: Academy of Educational Leadership Journal Publisher: The DreamCatchers Group, LLC Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Education Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 The DreamCatchers Group, LLC ISSN: 1095-6328
Issue:
Date: Sept, 2011 Source Volume: 15 Source Issue: 3
Topic:
Event Code: 200 Management dynamics
Geographic:
Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number:
263157462
Full Text:
INTRODUCTION

The intersection of leadership style and organizational practices reveals a great deal about how school superintendents attempt to influence their district's progress. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationships among superintendent leadership authenticity and the transparency, information processing, and staffing dynamics involved in budget-building processes. We surveyed public school district superintendents in six southeastern states concerning their leadership styles and the budget-building processes they employ in their administrations. While the literature surrounding leadership is voluminous, research about how school leaders create and implement processes leading to annual budget adoption is much more limited. Understanding the antecedents and consequences of these basic components of school operations is important because it will inform university preparation programs, practicing superintendents, school district professional development programs, and school board executive selection and evaluation practices.

Leadership

Practicing school executives can turn to a vast amount of both scholarly and popular literature about the study of leadership. Private sector business literature in general and more specifically, positive organizational scholarship (Cameron, Dutton, & Quinn, 2003a, b; Spreitzer, 2006; Verbos, Gerard, Forshey, Harding, & Miller, 2007), point to the importance of the leader's talent in an organization's success (Kahn, 1990; Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005; Ostrem & Wheeler, 2006). While leadership style literature ranges far and wide, recently the concept of authentic leadership has received attention (Avolio, 2007; Avolio & Gardner, 2005; Avolio, Gardner, Walumbwa, Luthans, & May, 2004; Begley, 2001; Blausten, 2009; Champy, 2009; Endrissat, Muller, & Kaudela-Baum, 2007; Gardner & Schermerhorn, 2004; George, Sims, McLean, & Mayer, 2007; Goffe & Jones, 2005; Goffe & Jones, 2007; Ilies, Morgeson, & Nahrgang, 2005; Jensen & Luthans, 2006; Kellett, Humphrey, & Sleeth, 2006; Luthans & Avolio, 2003; Marshall & Heffes, 2004; Masarech, 2001; May, Chan, Hodges, & Avolio, 2003; Michie & Gooty, 2005; Palmer & Fleig-Palmer, 2006; Price, 2003; Shamir & Eilam, 2005; Sparrowe, 2005; Tate, 2008; Toor & Ofori, 2008; Yammarino, Dionne, Schriesheim, & Dansereau, 2008). Salient characteristics of authentic leaders include self-awareness, confidence, resiliency, and optimism. Authentic leaders are future oriented and have a proclivity for action. They establish long-term, meaningful, and transparent relationships with followers. Authentic leaders have a passion for their purpose and practice their moral/ethical values consistently. They have the ability to empathize with different types of people and situations and they build on the strengths of followers. Walumbwa, Avolio, Gardner, Wernsing, & Peterson (2008) operationalized authentic leadership for study by developing a questionnaire containing four fundamental elements: self-awareness, relational transparency, balanced processing, and moral integrity.

Authentic leadership studies in education are appearing with some regularity (Begley, 2001; Begley, 2006; Branson, 2007; Walker & Shuangye, 2007). Nascent school setting studies by Bird, Chuang, Watson, & Murray, 2009b nested these business concepts within the principal-teacher-student-school relationships and found that school principals who are perceived as being authentic by their teaching staffs are more likely to have faculties that are more trusting and engaged.

Missing from the leadership literature are scholarly inquiries concerning the authenticity of school district superintendents. Does this leadership style exist at the superintendent executive level? Can it be measured? If present, what effect does it have on the practices employed and what effect does it have on the subordinates who carry out those practices?

Budget-building Practices

As chronicled by Bird, Chuang, & Murray 2009a, if a practicing superintendent were to venture into the literature of school finance he or she would find traditional treatments of legislative revenue/expenditure structures (e.g., Brimley and Garfield 2008; Cubberley 1906; King, Swanson, and Sweetland 2003); evolving court cases (King, Swanson, and Sweetland 2003); and, treatises concerning the parameters of adequacy, equity, and the pursuit of excellence (King, Swanson, and Sweetland 2003; Reyes and Rodriguez 2004). The process functions of budgeting, planning, and accounting would receive attention (Brimley and Garfield 2008; Fullerton 2004; Goertz and Hess 1998; Gonzales and Bogotch 1999; Miles and Roza 2006; Reyes and Rodriguez 2004; Slosson 2000; Stiefel, Schwartz, Portas, and Kim 2003). The extant literature also contains many studies of school effectiveness which purport to measure student performance gains (King, Swanson, and Sweetwater 2003).

While this body of knowledge provides some basic fundamental guidelines for the practicing superintendent, it does not inform the school executive on structural or functional aspects of how a school district should be organized to ensure student success or how to interface with the political context of the community with its scarce resources, competing interests, and high expectations. Initial attempts to study superintendent practices reveal connections between the transparency of budget-building processes and information management procedures. Surveyed superintendents were eclectic in their practices and depended more on their on-the-job training and experience than their university professional preparation programs (Bird, et al., 2009a; Bird, Chuang, & Murray, 2010).

Missing from the budget-building literature are scholarly inquiries concerning the relationships among school district superintendents' leadership style and the budget-building practices they use in their organizations. Are some leadership styles linked to certain operational practices? Are patterns discernable or is the craft eclectic in nature? Are there demographic factors involved and what might they be in terms of influencing what superintendents do and how they interact with their subordinates and community? The linking of process (leadership) and content (school finance) serves as a basic structure to this proposed study.

The review of literature reveals some interesting parallels between leadership style behavioral characteristics and effective operational practices. Leaders who are steadfast, unbiased, goal-focused, and develop deep and open relationships with their subordinates, seem particularly well matched for complex organizational operations that require vision, data driven decision-making, honesty, and teamwork. We, therefore, chose variables that reflect this parallelism between leadership style and operational practice. Our conceptual framework posits authentic leadership variables (self-awareness, balanced processing, moral integrity, and relational transparency) with operational practice variables (budget-building transparency, information processing) and the control variables (staff cohesiveness, and district demographics). We expect to find a positive correlation between superintendent authenticity levels and budget-building levels of transparency, and information processing. If that is the case, then we can add to the understanding of antecedents and consequences surrounding the complex issues challenging organizations. Such understanding can inform and add value to university preparation programs, professional development efforts, practicing superintendents, and governing board selection and evaluation procedures.

Research Questions

Based upon the review of related literature outlined above, we formulated the following research questions:

1. Is there a significant positive relationship between school district superintendent leadership authenticity and the transparency of their district's budget-building practices?

2. Is there a significant positive relationship between school district superintendent leadership authenticity and the information processing practices of their budget-building processes?

3. Is there a significant positive relationship between school district superintendent leadership authenticity and the fast-rising career pattern of superintendents?

4. Is there a significant difference between superintendents' self-described leadership styles and their budget-building practices?

5. Is there a significant positive relationship between school district superintendent leadership authenticity and other demographic measures employed in this study?

6. Is there a significant difference between superintendents in fiscally dependent school districts and their counterparts in fiscally independent school districts with respect to authenticity, transparency, and information processing?

METHODS

Participants

We chose six southern states because of geographical closeness and a mix of fiscally dependent and independent school districts. After removing three participants due to missing data on at least three items of the constructs measured, we had 224 superintendents in six southeastern states: Alabama (n = 22), Arkansas (n = 59), Georgia (n = 56), South Carolina (n = 23), Tennessee (n = 31), and Virginia (n = 33). Among them, 160 (71%) were male and 64 (29%) were female. The participants were predominantly Caucasian (92%) with 16 (7%) African American and three people (1%) identified with none of the major ethnic groups in the United States. As for their education background, 128 (57%) held doctorate degrees, 50 (22%) held specialist degrees, and 46 (21%) held master's degrees.

Procedures

All superintendents in six southeastern states were sent electronic message alerts inviting them to participate in a study concerning their leadership styles and budget-building practices. A few days later, the actual questionnaire was sent to them electronically. A one-time follow-up opportunity to participate was sent within a week to 10 days later. Response rates varied across the six states from a low of 17% to a high of 31% with an overall return of 227 superintendents from 988 districts, or, 23%. The superintendents participated anonymously and without any monetary incentive. Each was promised an executive summary of the study and a full manuscript if so desired. All participants completed the survey on-line. Their responses were tabulated into SPSS (version 16) for statistical analyses. The relationships among transparency, information management strategies, and cohesiveness of staff were examined with Pearson correlation coefficients. One-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was employed to examine possible differences between fast-rising superintendents and non fast-rising superintendents on the outcome measures. Median ages of the first principalship and first superintendency (32 and 47.50, respectively) were used as cut-off criteria to separate participants into fast-rising superintendents and non-fast-rising superintendents. One-way MANOVA was also employed to examine possible differences on the outcome measures between superintendents' self-described leadership styles. A 2 X 3 MANOVA was also used to examine differences on the authenticity, transparency, and information processing practices in the budget building processes for superintendents' gender (male and female) and highest educational degrees earned (doctorate, specialist, and masters). A 3 X 3 X 4 MANOVA was used to examine differences on the authenticity, transparency, and information processing practices among districts classified by size (small, medium, large), socioeconomic level (poor, middle, and rich), and type (rural, suburban, urban, and small town). School district socioeconomic level was measured by the percentage of students eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch program. Finally, a 3 X 3 MANOVA was used to examine differences on the authenticity, transparency, and information processing practices among districts classified by student academic achievement (below state average, at state average, and above state average) and per pupil expenditure (below state average, at state average, and above state average).

Instrumentation

Participants responded to an 87-question survey (see Appendix). The survey combined questions about authentic leadership (Items 4-19), respondent demographics (Items 1-2), respondent budget-building practices (Items 48-83), respondent self-described leadership style (Item 20), respondent school district characteristics (Items 21-23, 46-47), respondent career patterns (Items 3, 24-41), staff cohesiveness (Items 42-45), and the source of respondent budget-building practices (Items 84-87).

Authentic Leadership Questionnaire. Walumbwa, Avolio, Gardner, Wernsing, & Peterson (2008) developed a 16-item questionnaire to measure authentic leadership style. There are four subscales designed to reveal the components of authentic leadership: (1) self-awareness refers to the extent to which leaders are aware of their strengths and limitations and how others perceive them; (2) relational transparency refers to the extent to which leaders reinforce a level of openness with others; (3) internalized moral reasoning refers to the extent to which leaders set high standards for moral and ethical conduct; and, (4) balanced processing refers to the extent to which leaders solicit sufficient opinions and viewpoints of others prior to making important decisions. There are two versions of this questionnaire: one for the leader to self-report and one for raters to assess their leaders. In this study we used the leader self-report form. The internal reliability for each sub-scale is as follows: self-awareness, .73; relational transparency, .77; internalized moral perspective, .73; and, balanced processing, .70 (Walumbwa et al., 2008). Participants were asked to rate the frequency of each statement that fits the leadership style using a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (not at all) to 5 (frequently, if not always).

Budget-building Practices Questionnaire. Previous research (Bird, et al., 2009a; Bird, et al., 2010) utilized a set of questions which was designed to measure the constructs raised in this study: transparency of the budget building process (Items 48, 50-56, 63-67, 72, 74-76, 78-79, 81); information management strategy (Items 49, 57-62, 68-69, 73, 77, 80); cohesiveness of staff (Items 42-45); career development path (Items 29-38); administration experience (Items 39-41); student performance in comparison to the state average (Item 46); per pupil expenditure (Item 47); source of practices (Items 84-87); as well as, to collect participants' demographic information and educational background (Items 1-11). For participants' career development path (Items 29-38), participants were asked to report the number of years they worked at each position (teacher, principal, superintendent) and at each school level (elementary, middle, and high). Item 38 asked the participants to identify one of the career paths (teacher--department head assistant principal--principal--central staff--superintendent; teacher--administrator superintendent; private sector--education; other). For administration experience (Items 39-41), participants were asked to report their age (at their first administrative position, first principalship, and first superintendency). For cohesiveness (Items 42-45), participants were asked to report the number of years they worked with current principals and business managers under their current superintendency. For both student performance (Item 46) and expenditure (Item 47), participants were asked to rate at three levels (above, at, or below state average). The rest of items (Items 48-87) were statements of which participants were asked to indicate their degree of agreement (1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = undecided, 4 = agree, and 5 = strongly agree). Because of the wording of the questions and the choices available for answers, Items 48, 50, and 72 were reverse-scored.

The reliabilities of the three key constructs measured were satisfactory: .80 for leadership authenticity, .77 for transparency of budget building process and .71 for information processing practices. The concept of reliability for the construct of cohesiveness does not apply here because each question asked the number of years the superintendent worked with staffs of different levels. The answers to these questions are not expected to be consistent.

RESULTS

Descriptive statistics of superintendents' authenticity measures; their districts' budget-building transparency and information processing practices; their demographic and educational background information; and, their career path information were presented in Table 1. The Pearson correlation coefficients between school district superintendent leadership authenticity and the transparency of their district's budget-building practices was statistically significantly different from zero, r = .32, p < .001. Similarly, a statistically significant positive correlation was noticed between school district superintendent leadership authenticity and the information processing practices of their budget-building practices, r = .24, p < .001. The transparency of their district's budget-building practices was strongly correlated with the information processing practices of their district's budget-building practices, r = .66,p < .001.

There was no significant differences between fast-rising and non fast-rising superintendents with respect to the authenticity, transparency, or information processing practices, F (3, 220) = 0.64, p = .59, partial [[eta].sup.2] = .01. Specifically, fast-rising superintendents were not found to be statistically significantly different from non fast-rising superintendents with respect to leadership authenticity, t (222) = -0.35, p = .72. These two groups of superintendents were not statistically significantly different from each other on the transparency, t (222) = -1.05, p = .30, or the information processing practices, t (222) = -1.13, p = .26.

With the use of Wilks' Lambda criterion, the combined dependent variables (transparency and the information processing practices) were not significantly affected by the superintendents' self-described leadership styles, F (6, 416) = 1.51, p = .17, partial [[eta].sup.2] = .02.

No significant interaction effects were noticed between the superintendents' gender and educational background, F (6, 432) = 0.38, p = .89, partial [[eta].sup.2] = .01. Therefore, we proceeded to examine the main effects. There is no statistically significant differences between male and female superintendents on the combined dependent variables (authenticity, transparency, and information processing practices), F (3, 216) = 1.36, p = .26, partial [[eta].sup.2] = .02. However, significant differences were noticed for superintendents' educational background, F (6, 432) = 3.14, p = .005, partial [[eta].sup.2] = .04. Tests of between-subjects effects revealed that the participants were different on transparency, F (2, 218) = 7.26, p = .001, partial [[eta].sup.2] = .06. Post-hoc tests using Scheffe's method of multiple comparisons suggested that superintendents with doctorate degrees were more transparent than their counterparts with master's degrees. Superintendents with education specialist degrees were not statistically significantly different from those with doctorate degrees or master's degrees with respect to the transparency during their budget-building processes.

Descriptive statistics of superintendents' authenticity, transparency, and information processing practices of their budget-building processes by school district information were presented in Table 2.

No statistically significant two-way or three-way interaction effects were noticed for the combined dependent variables (authenticity, transparency, and information processing practices) with school district size, type, and socioeconomic status levels. School district size did not affect the superintendents' authenticity, transparency, and information processing practices, F (6, 390) = 1.12, p = .35, partial [[eta].sup.2] = .02. School district's socioeconomic status was not affecting the superintendents' authenticity, transparency, and information processing practices either, F (6, 390) = 0.35, p = .91, partial [[eta].sup.2] = .01. Type of school district did not affect the superintendents' authenticity, transparency, and information processing practices, F (9, 475) = 1.09, p = .37, partial n2 = .02. Post-hoc tests using Scheffe's method of multiple comparisons suggested large school districts were more transparent than small school districts and medium school districts were not statistically significantly different from small or large school districts with respect to transparency. No significant differences were noticed between small, medium, and large school districts with respect to authenticity and information processing practices. Similarly, rich school districts were more transparent than poor school districts and middle school districts were not statistically significantly different from poor or rich school districts. No significant differences were noticed between poor, middle, and rich school districts with respect to authenticity and information processing practices. No significant differences were noticed between urban, suburban, rural, and small town school districts with respect to authenticity, transparency, and information processing practices.

No statistically significant interaction effects were noticed for the combined dependent variables (authenticity, transparency, and information processing practices) for student performance level and per pupil expenditure level, F (12, 558) = 0.58, p = .86, partial [[eta].sup.2] = .01. Student performance level did not affect the superintendents' authenticity, transparency, and information processing practices, F (6, 422) = 0.46, p = .84, partial [[eta].sup.2] = .01. Per pupil expenditure was not affecting the superintendents' authenticity, transparency, and information processing practices either, F (6, 422) = 0.45, p = .84, partial n2 = .01.

Finally, superintendents were put into two groups based upon the type of their school districts: (a) fiscally dependent school districts and (b) fiscally independent school districts. Superintendents whose type of school districts could not be identified were removed for this last step of analysis. Fiscally dependent school districts are defined as school districts where the Board adopted school budgets and then the budgets need to be approved by county commissioners. MANOVA revealed statistically significant differences on the combination of authenticity, transparency, and information processing, F (3, 141) = 3.57, p = .02, partial [[eta].sup.2] = .07. Tests of between-subjects effects suggested that superintendents in fiscally dependent school districts (n = 86, M = 3.75, SD = 0.38) were more transparent than their counterparts in fiscally independent school districts (n = 59, M = 3.57, SD = 0.36), F (1, 143) = 8.47, p = .004, partial [[eta].sup.2] = .06. The superintendents were not significantly different from each other with respect to authenticity and information processing.

DISCUSSION

The first research question dealt with leader authenticity and the level of transparency in school district budget-building practices. One of the four fundamental components of leader authenticity in the literature is relational transparency. It follows then that we looked for a positive correlation between superintendent authenticity and their budget-building practices. A positive correlation was found between school district superintendent leadership authenticity and the transparency of their district's budget-building practices. The more authentic the superintendents self-reported their leadership style, the more they reported that their budget-building practices were inclusive of others, both inside and outside of the school organization. In the districts of this study reporting high levels of superintendent leadership authenticity, people were invited into the decision-making processes and there were communication systems established to inform interested employees and citizens throughout the budget-building practices.

The second research question dealt with leader authenticity and the degree to which information processing practices were used during budget-building. Another fundamental component of leader authenticity in the literature is balanced processing. Authentic leaders are unbiased, data-driven, and systematic in their decision-making processes. Similarly, we found a positive correlation between school district superintendent leadership authenticity and the information processing practices of their budget-building practices. Again, the more authentic the superintendents self-reported their leadership style in this study, the more they reported using established written procedures, systematic data gathering, and methodical decision-making.

The conceptual framework of this study posited leader authenticity with budget-building practices of transparency, information management, and demographic variables. Two of these constructs were found to be associated. The transparency of a district's budget-building practices was strongly correlated with the information processing practices of the district's budget-building practices. In other words, the more superintendents reported their budget-building practices were open and transparent, the more they reported that their practices included established and known procedures as well.

The third research question sought explanation concerning the origins of variances across superintendent budget-building practices. In an attempt to find patterns among why some superintendents presided over more open or systematic budget-building practices than other superintendents, we examined their career paths and focused on their age when they attained their first principalship and their first superintendency. There were no significant differences between fast-rising and non fast-rising superintendents with respect to their authenticity, transparency, or information processing practices and the effect size was small. Thus, we did not find that school leaders who were picked earlier in their careers for principalships and superintendencies displayed measurably different budget-building practices from colleagues who rose more slowly through administrative ranks. Faster ascension might indicate accumulation of accomplishments and demonstrative competencies but we found no linkage to budget-building practices. This is consistent with our previous study (Bird, et al., 2009a; Bird, et al., 2010).

The next research question attempted to discern a pattern across our sample by looking at how superintendents self-describe their leadership styles. The combined dependent variables (transparency and the information processing practices) were not significantly affected by the superintendents' self-described leadership styles and the effect size was small. When asked to self-describe their leadership style, responding superintendents were given the choices of autocratic, laissez-faire, democratic, situational, servant, or transformational leadership style. The vast majority of our participating superintendents (> 90%) chose from the last four leadership styles but chose quite equitably across those four styles: democratic (16%), situational (27%), servant (21%), and transformational (32%) respectively. Thus, how they self-described their leadership style had very little linkage to how they presided over their budget-building practices. At the same time, their responses revealed a discernable pattern aligning authenticity to both transparency and information management processes as noted previously. One explanation for this apparent contradiction lies in the lack of definitional discreetness. Another possibility is that the construct of authenticity can be demonstrated across all traditionally defined leadership styles. This quandary certainly provides impetus for further study.

The fifth research question delved into leadership authenticity and other demographic measures. There were no statistically significant differences between male and female superintendents on the combined dependent variables (authenticity, transparency, and information processing practices) and the effect size was small. However, significant differences were noticed for superintendents' educational background with medium effect size. The participants were different on transparency. Superintendents with doctorate degrees were more transparent than their counterparts with master's degrees. Superintendents with education specialist degrees were not statistically significantly different from those with doctorate degrees or master's degrees with respect to the transparency during their budget-building processes. Thus, acquisition of a doctoral degree seems to be associated with a level of sophistication that sparks transparency in budget-building practices. This is tempered by participating superintendents' responses to questions regarding from where they learned their budget-building practices. Very few (9%) credit their university's professional preparation programs. Most (93%) credit on-the-job training for their strategies. These findings are consistent with previous studies (Bird, et al., 2009a; Bird, et al., 2010).

Our data revealed large school districts were more transparent than small school districts and medium school districts were not statistically significantly different from either small or large school districts with respect to transparency. Similarly, rich school districts were more transparent than poor school districts and middle wealth school districts were not statistically significantly different from either poor or rich school districts. Perhaps the large school districts inherently have a level of complexity which lends itself more to having more people involved in budget-building practices than that which occurs in smaller districts. Larger, richer school districts generally have more staff which also raises the possibility of greater involvement of folks in district operations.

Our level of data gathering on student performance level and per pupil expenditure level is a serious limitation to this study. Essentially, our student performance measure and per pupil expenditure measure were too gross (at, above, or below state average) and self-reported anonymously by the participating superintendents for us to have any confidence in drawing conclusions from them.

Finally, the last research question dealt with the difference between fiscally dependent school districts and fiscally independent school districts. The rationale for the finding of fiscally dependent school district states being more transparent than fiscally independent school districts could reside in the context that fiscally dependent districts are required to prepare their budgets for "outsider" consumption. As such, they know from the start that they need to be inclusive of opinions beyond the table of organization of the school district. They need to gain the approval of another governance body like a Board of County Commissioners, for example. Thus, the involvement of others in budget-building practices is a given from the start.

Implications for Practice

Our conceptual framework sought relationships between leader authenticity and budget-building practices. Our data suggest that those superintendents scoring high on the authenticity measure also presided over district financial practices that were more transparent and systematic. The acquisition and use of taxpayer supported resources are constantly under heavy scrutiny. Therefore, school leaders would be well-advised to examine their patterns of behavior and operational procedures to ensure alignment with community expectations.

Because authentic leadership has its roots in the business literature and is just starting to emerge in education literature, university graduate programs in educational leadership should examine its merits for inclusion in principal and superintendent preparation programs. Hiring boards would do well to include authenticity in their list of desirable characteristics in screening and selecting candidates for executive positions. Governing boards could add assessment items calling for evidence of authentic leadership into their executive evaluation performance review processes.

In all likelihood, educational resources will remain scarce and highly competitive relative to other social goods and services in the public sector. Understanding the antecedents and consequences of leader behavior and their operational practices is very important. Our study contributes to and supports the growing stature of leader authenticity and its relationship to positive organizational practices.

Implications for Future Research

The study provides direction for future research. First, its limitations need to be addressed. Single source data at one point in time is a serious limitation of this study. In gathering data about authenticity, self-reports come with a host of problems, not the least of which is objectivity. Asking others (building principals, central staff members, Board of Education officers) to gauge their superintendents' authenticity would generate meaningful data and concordance between leader and subordinates could be explored. Use of archival data concerning school district demographics and student performance would add validity and objectivity as well as more discrete data rather than relying on the self-reports of the superintendents involved. The representativeness of responding superintendents in this study to other superintendents in the respective states is not evident. While 224 superintendents provide a great deal of interesting data, generalizations can not be drawn to others beyond this study and is a serious limitation of the study. Superintendents are very busy folks and creating incentives for their participation in future studies might increase response rates.

Future research efforts should be structured so as to focus on the relationship between leader behavior and organizational performance. How does superintendent authenticity affect building principals? Does authenticity affect student learning? Are administrative practices related to student test scores? Do relational factors between leader and subordinates influence student performance? Nesting data collection by pairing superintendents with their principals and their students within their districts and then comparing districts could generate salient information in real-world settings.

Finally, in an attempt to reveal real consequential impact of leader authenticity and transparent operational practices, future research could compare selected school districts scoring high on these matters with school districts scoring low on such variables for differences in per pupil expenditures, scope of curricular offerings, or other educational outcomes. In other words, is there a link between leader behavior and community support as measured by resource allocation decisions? Answers to these questions would be valuable for practicing school executives, university preparation programs, and district governing bodies.

The provision of educational services requires resources. For the most part, these resources come from the public sector through taxation. It is hard to imagine our citizens granting approbation for funding if they do not trust that their tax dollars are being appropriately used by school leaders. This study explored the relationships between leader behavior and administrative governance procedures. Leader authenticity and its association with budget-building transparency and information processing inform practitioners and those responsible for their development. If tax payers are to be won over, it will be on the playing fields of integrity, openness, and efficacy.

Appendix: Questionnaire

1) Gender

2) Ethnicity

3) Highest Education Level Achieved

4) As a leader, I say exactly what I mean.

5) I admit mistakes when they are made.

6) I encourage everyone to speak their mind.

7) I tell you the hard truth.

8) As a leader, I display emotions exactly in line with feelings.

9) I demonstrate beliefs that are consistent with actions.

10) I make decisions based on my core values.

11) I ask you to take positions that support your core values.

12) As a leader, I make difficult decisions based on high standards of ethical conduct.

13) I solicit views that challenge my deeply held positions.

14) I analyze relevant data before coming to a decision.

15) I listen carefully to different points of view before coming to conclusions.

16) As a leader, I seek feedback to improve interactions with others.

17) I accurately describe how others view my capabilities.

18) I know when it is time to reevaluate my positions on important issues.

19) I show I understand how specific actions impact others.

20) I would classify my overall leadership style as:

21) Number of students in current school district:

22) Approximate percentage of free and reduced lunch students:

23) Type of school district:

24) Name of undergraduate institution attended:

25) Name of graduate institution attended:

26) If you completed a Master's degree did you attend part-time or full-time:

27) If you completed a Specialist degree did you attend part-time or full-time:

28) If you completed Doctoral level degree did you attend part-time or full-time:

29) Number of years in teaching:

30) Number of years as a building principal:

31) Number of years in a central staff position:

32) Number of years as an administrator:

33) Number of years in current superintendency:

34) Total number of years as a superintendent:

35) Number of years at elementary school work level:

36) Number of years at middle school work level:

37) Number of years at high school work level:

38) Please indicate the career path that most resembles your work history:

39) Age at first administrative position:

40) Age at first principalship:

41) Age at first superintendency:

42) Number of years, as a superintendent, that you have worked with (most senior) current high school principal:

43) Number of years, as a superintendent, that you have worked with (most senior) current middle school principal:

44) Number of years, as a superintendent, that you have worked with (most senior) current elementary school principal:

45) Number of years, as a superintendent, that you have worked with current business manager:

46) For the most part, would you say your students score:

47) For the most part, would you say your per pupil expenditure levels are:

48) The budget-building process should be largely delegated to the business manager.

49) The budget-adoption process should be a matter of adopting a set of ideas rather than adopting a set of numbers.

50) The budget-building process should be totally within the purview of the administration and community input is not needed.

51) The budget-building process should create a forum through which ideas can be converted into reality.

52) Community involvement in the budget-building process should be formalized with written procedures adopted by the Board of Education.

53) Input from non-administrative sources should weigh heavily in eventual budget adoption decisions.

54) Access to the budget-building process should be extended to all interested parties.

55) Non-employee participants in the budget-building process should represent the diversity of the community.

56) Participation and deliberations during the budget-building process should be archived through the recording of meeting minutes.

57) Data from the district's student assessment system should be used extensively in deliberations during the budget-building process.

58) The curriculum revision process calendar should be aligned with the budget adoption calendar.

59) Data from the human resources office concerning staffing needs should be considered in the budget building process.

60) The adopted budget document should include the district's philosophy, vision statement, mission statement, and annual goal statements.

61) The adopted budget document should include language linking programs to dollars.

62) The adopted budget document should outline the connection between district needs and resource distribution.

63) Communication channel and chain of command organization charts should be available to employees and community members.

64) Roles and responsibilities of administrators, staff, and Board of Education members in the budget building and budget-adoption processes should be reduced to writing and published for staff and community.

65) The adopted budget document should be available to any interested citizen.

66) There should be an appeal process established to provide stakeholders access to inquiry concerning budget matters.

67) There should be a "frequently asked questions" log for the budget-building process which is published for stakeholders.

68) Questions and suggestions concerning the budget should be analyzed and archived for possible inclusion in future budgets.

69) There should be written guidelines describing how disputes will be settled during the budget-building process.

70) There should be horizontal equity across buildings and vertical equity among levels in resource distribution.

71) The superintendent should be the arbiter in areas of competing values such as instruction--non instruction; classrooms--extra-curriculars; and, building level--central staff needs.

72) When someone has a request to add something to the budget, they should be required to present a concomitant revenue enhancement or expenditure reduction to fund their idea.

73) There should be a published timeline established for the introduction of new ideas during the budget building process.

74) A draft of the proposed budget should be placed on public display for a specified number of days prior to final adoption by the Board of Education.

75) Principals should be required to periodically discuss budgetary matters with their staffs.

76) There should be incentives in place to reward innovative suggestions which enhance resource management.

77) There should be a systemic assessment program applied to the budget-building and budget implementation processes to spur continuous improvement.

78) Directives given to external auditors should be published and available to staff and community.

79) Cash-handling directives should be reduced to writing and disseminated to staff throughout the district.

80) The financial operating topics covered by the chief business officer during in-service sessions with building principals should be adopted by the Board of Education.

81) A budget adoption calendar listing the sequence of decision-making dates should be published and distributed to staff and community.

82) The Board of Education should establish a fund equity target early in the budget-building process.

83) If the superintendent's administrative budget recommendation is not adopted in total, there should be a written policy guiding how amendments from the Board of Education will be made.

84) There is no difference in your current set of budget-building strategies from what you used in your first year as superintendent.

85) You learned your current set of budget-building strategies in your university graduate preparation program.

86) You learned your current set of budget-building strategies from on-the-job training.

87) You learned your current set of budget-building strategies from a combination of your university graduate preparation program and on-the-job training.

REFERENCES

Avolio, B. (2007). Promoting more integrative strategies for leadership theory-building. American Psychologist 62(1), 25-33.

Avolio, B., & Gardner, W. (2005). Authentic leadership development: Getting to the root of positive forms of leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 16, 315-338.

Avolio, B., Gardner, W., Walumbwa, F., Luthans, F., & May, D. (2004). Unlocking the mask: A look at the process by which authentic leaders impact follower attitudes and behaviors. The Leadership Quarterly, 15, 801823.

Begley, P. (2001). In pursuit of authentic leadership practices. International Journal of Leadership in Education 4, 353-365.

Begley, P. (2006). Self-knowledge, capacity, and sensitivety: Prerequisites to authentic leadership by school principals. Journal of Educational Administration, 44(6), 570-589.

Bird, J., Wang, C., & Murray, L. (2009a). Building budgets and trust through superintendent leadership. Journal of Education Finance 35(2), 140-156.

Bird, J., Wang, C., Watson, J., & Murray, L. (2009b). Relationships among principal authentic leadership, teacher trust and engagement levels. Journal of School Leadership 19(2), 153 171.

Bird, J., & Wang, C. (2010). Role interdependency between superintendents and school business officials in budget building leadership practices and strategies. Journal of School Business Management 22(1), 11-16.

Blausten, P. (2009). Can authentic leadership survive the downturn? Business Strategy Review, 20(1), 84-87.

Branson, C. (2007). Effects of structured self-reflection on the development of authentic leadership practices among Queensland primary school principals. Educational Management Administration & Leadership 35(2), 225246.

Brimley, V. Jr., & Garfield R. R. (2008). Financing education in a climate of change. 10th ed. Boston: Pearson.

Cameron, K., Dutton, J., & Quinn, R. (Eds.). (2003a). Positive organizational scholarship: Foundations of a new discipline. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Cameron, K., Dutton, J., & Quinn, R. (2003b). Foundations of positive organizational scholarship. In K. Cameron, J. Dutton, & R. Quinn (Eds.), Positive organizational scholarship: Foundations of a new discipline (pp. 313). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Champy, J. (2009). Authentic leadership. Leader to Leader, 54, 39-44.

Cubberley, E. P. (1906). School funds and their apportionment. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University. Endrissat, N., Muller, W., & Kaudela-Baum, S. (2007). En route to an empirically-based understanding of authentic leadership. European Mangement Journal 25(3), 207-220.

Fullerton, J. (2004). Mounting debt. Education Next, 4(1), 11-19.

Gardner, W., Avolio, B., Luthans, F., May, D., & Walumbwa, F. (2005). "Can you see the real me?" A self-based model of authentic leader and follower development. The Leadership Quarterly, 16, 343-372.

Gardner, W., & Schermerhorn, J., Jr. (2004). Unleashing individual potential: Performance gains through positive organizational behavior and authentic leadership. Organizational Dynamics, 33, 270-281.

George, B., Sims, P., McLean, A., & Mayer, D. (2007). Discovering your authentic leadership. Harvard Business Review, 85, 129-138.

Goertz, M.E., & Hess, G. A. Jr. (1998). Process and power in school budgeting across four large urban school districts. Journal of Education Finance, 23(4) 490-506.

Goffee, R., & Jones, G. (2005). Managing authenticity: The paradox of great leadership. Harvard Business Review, 83, 87-94.

Goffee, R., & Jones, G. (2007). Leading clever people. Harvard Business Review HBR Spotlight, 26(7), Reprint R0703D.

Gonzales, K., & Bogotch, I. (1999). Fiscal practices of high school principals: Managing discretionary school funds. NASSP Bulletin, 83, 37-48.

Ilies, R., Morgeson, F., & Nahrgang, J. (2005). Authentic leadership and eudaemonic well-being: Understanding leader-follower outcomes. The Leadership Quarterly, 16, 373-394.

Jensen, S., & Luthans, F. (2006). Relationship between entrepreneurs' psychological capital and their authentic leadership. Journal of Managerial Issues, 18, 254-273.

Kahn, W. (1990). Psychological conditions of personal engagement and disengagement at work. Academy of Management Review, 33, 692-724.

Kellett, J. B., Humphrey, R. H., & Sleeth, R. G. (2006). Empathy and the emergence of task and relations leaders. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(2), 146-162.

King, R. A., Swanson, A. D. & Sweetland S. R. (2003). School finance: Achieving high standards with equity and efficiency. 3rd ed. Boston: Pearson.

Luthans, F., & Avolio, B. (2003). Authentic leadership development. In K. Cameron, J. Dutton, & R. Quinn (Eds.), Positive organizational scholarship: Foundations of a new discipline (pp. 241-258). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Marshall, J., & Heffes, E. M. (2004) Authentic leadership qualities described. Financial Executive, 20(5), 10.

Marzano, R., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. School leadership that works: From research to results. (2005). Alexandria, VA: Association for Curriculum and Supervision.

Masarech, M. A. (2001). Authentic leadership: A challenge and a process. Employment Relations Today, 28(3), 7984.

May, D., Chan, A., Hodges, T., & Avolio, B. (2003). Developing the moral component of authentic leadership. Organizational Dynamics, 32, 247-260.

Michie, S., & Gooty, J. (2005). Values, emotions, and authenticity: Will the real leader please stand up? The Leadership Quarterly, 16, 441-457.

Miles, K. H., &. Roza, M. (2006). Understanding student-weighted allocation as a means to greater school resource equity. Peabody Journal of Education, 81(3) 39-62.

Ostrem, L., & Wheeler, D. (2006, October) Engagement and trust as outcomes of servant leadership. Paper presented at the Gallup Leadership Summit, Washington, DC.

Palmer, N., & Fleig-Palmer, M. (2006, October). Emergent adult's authentic leadership development accelerated through self-awareness. Paper presented at the Gallup Leadership Summit, Washington, DC.

Price, T. L. (2003). The ethics of authentic transformational leadership. The Leadership Quarterly 14(1), 67-81.

Reyes, A. H., & Rodriguez, G. M. (2004). School finance: Raising questions for urban schools. Education and Urban Society, 37(1) 3-21.

Shamir, B., & Eilam, G. (2005). "What's your story?" A life-stories approach to authentic leadership development. The Leadership Quarterly 16, 395-417.

Slosson, J. 2000. Taming the budget process. Principal Leadership, 1(3) 54-57.

Sparrowe, R. (2005). Authentic leadership and the narrative self. The Leadership Quarterly 16, 419-439.

Spritzer, G. (2006). Leading to grow and growing to lead: Leadership development lessons from positive organizational studies. Organizational Dynamics 35(4), 305-315.

Stiefel, L., Schwartz, A. E., Portas, C. & Kim, D. Y. (2003). School budgeting and school performance: The impact of New York City's performance driven budgeting initiative. Journal of Education Finance, 28(3) 403-424.

Tate, B. (2008). A longitudinal study of the relationships among self-monitoring, authentic leadership, and perceptions of leadership. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies 15(1), 16-29.

Toor, S., & Ofori, G. (2008). Leadership for future construction industry: Agenda for authentic leadership. International Journal of project Management 26(6), 620-630.

Verbos, A. K., Gerard, J. A., Forshey, P. R., Harding, C. S., & Miller, J.S. ((2007). The positive ethical organization: Enacting a living code of ethics and ethical organizational identity. Journal of Business Ethics 76, 17-33.

Walker, A., & Shuangye, C. (2007) Leader authenticity in intercultural school contexts. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 35, 185-204.

Walumbwa, F., Avolio, B., Gardner, W., Wernsing, T., & Peterson, S. (2008). Authentic leadership: Development and validation of a theory-based measure. Journal of Management 34(1), 89-126.

Yammarino, F. J., Dionne, S. D., Schriesheim, C. A., & Dansereau, F. (2008). Authentic leadership and positive organizational behavior: A meso, multi-level perspective. The Leadership Quarterly, doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2008.09.004.

James J. Bird, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Chuang Wang, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Table 1 Descriptive Statistics for Dependent Variables by
Superintendents' Characteristics
                                        Authenticity    Transparency

                                         M      SD       M      SD

Gender         Male (n = 160)          4.39    0.33    3.71    0.40
               Female (n = 64)         4.49    0.25    3.76    0.33

Education      Doctorate (n = 128)     4.45    0.30    3.82    0.35
Background     Specialist (n = 50)     4.46    0.27    3.67    0.43
               Masters (n = 46)        4.25    0.36    3.52    0.32

Career Path    Fast-rising (n = 58)    4.40    0.29    3.68    0.34
               Non fast-rising         4.42    0.32    3.74    0.39
               (n = 166)

Leadership     Democratic (n = 36)     4.36    0.33    3.61    0.42
Style          Situational (n = 60)    4.36    0.34    3.74    0.40
               Servant (n = 46)        4.42    0.32    3.78    0.36
               Transformational        4.49    0.29    3.76    0.36
               (n = 71)

                                         Information

                                         M      SD

Gender         Male (n = 160)          3.85    0.45
               Female (n = 64)         3.88    0.39

Education      Doctorate (n = 128)     3.90    0.46
Background     Specialist (n = 50)     3.89    0.39
               Masters (n = 46)        3.70    0.36

Career Path    Fast-rising (n = 58)    3.79    0.36
               Non fast-rising         3.88    0.45
               (n = 166)

Leadership     Democratic (n = 36)     3.85    0.39
Style          Situational (n = 60)    3.87    0.38
               Servant (n = 46)        3.83    0.40
               Transformational        3.89    0.50
               (n = 71)

Table 2
Descriptive Statistics for Dependent Variables by School District
Characteristics

                                           Authenticity    Transparency

                                            M      SD       M      SD

Type            Urban (n = 20)            4.48    0.30    3.87    0.30
                Suburban (n = 27)         4.44    0.30    3.82    0.41
                Rural (n = 136)           4.41    0.32    3.70    0.39
                Small Town (n = 38)       4.37    0.32    3.64    0.33

Fiscally        Independent (n = 59)      4.32    0.04    3.57    0.05
                Dependent (n = 86)        4.39    0.04    3.75    0.04

Socioeconomic   Poor (n = 93)             4.42    0.33    3.69    0.37
Level           Middle (n = 114)          4.41    0.32    3.72    0.39
                Rich (n = 14)             4.42    0.27    3.96    0.34

Size            Small (n = 58)            4.32    0.35    3.59    0.36
                Middle (n = 137)          4.44    0.31    3.74    0.39
                Large (n = 26)            4.49    0.23    3.90    0.29

Student         Below Average (n = 64)    4.38    0.32    3.67    0.33
Performance     At Average (n = 40)       4.42    0.33    3.73    0.38
                Above Average (n = 118)   4.43    0.31    3.73    0.40

Per Pupil       Below Average (n = 75)    4.41    0.30    3.73    0.38
Expenditure     At Average (n = 74)       4.42    0.34    3.67    0.38
                Above Average (n = 73)    4.42    0.31    3.76    0.38

                                           Information

                                            M      SD

Type            Urban (n = 20)            3.93    0.31
                Suburban (n = 27)         3.89    0.37
                Rural (n = 136)           3.87    0.46
                Small Town (n = 38)       3.77    0.42

Fiscally        Independent (n = 59)      3.81    0.05
                Dependent (n = 86)        3.85    0.04

Socioeconomic   Poor (n = 93)             3.88    0.38
Level           Middle (n = 114)          3.83    0.48
                Rich (n = 14)             3.97    0.37

Size            Small (n = 58)            3.82    0.36
                Middle (n = 137)          3.86    0.47
                Large (n = 26)            3.96    0.35

Student         Below Average (n = 64)    3.76    0.38
Performance     At Average (n = 40)       3.88    0.46
                Above Average (n = 118)   3.88    0.43

Per Pupil       Below Average (n = 75)    3.83    0.50
Expenditure     At Average (n = 74)       3.86    0.39
                Above Average (n = 73)    3.87    0.39
Gale Copyright:
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.