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.
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
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
16) As a leader, I seek feedback to improve interactions with
17) I accurately describe how others view my capabilities.
18) I know when it is time to reevaluate my positions on important
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
28) If you completed Doctoral level degree did you attend part-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
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
48) The budget-building process should be largely delegated to the
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
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
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
65) The adopted budget document should be available to any
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
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
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
87) You learned your current set of budget-building strategies from
a combination of your university graduate preparation program and
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Table 1 Descriptive Statistics for Dependent Variables by
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)
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)
Descriptive Statistics for Dependent Variables by School District
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
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