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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Advisor

Rita M. King

First Committee Member

Steves Siera

Second Committee Member

Mari G. Irvin

Third Committee Member

David P. Baral

Fourth Committee Member

Rene Merino


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship among cultural flexibility, leadership style, leadership style flexibility and leadership style effectiveness among Mexican-American principals in Northern California. Three instruments were utilized to collect quantitative self-perception data from principals regarding these variables. Qualitative data was collected through interviews to elicit information that might not be provided through the surveys. Two additional questionnaires were utilized to validate principals' self perceptions and to strengthen the overall research design. Instruments were mailed out to 105 Mexican-American elementary and secondary principals in Northern California. Forty-three subjects returned and completed all three questionnaires. Completed surveys were also received from 16 supervisors and 59 teachers. Fifteen principals were randomly selected for the follow-up interviews and 10 were actually interviewed. The study contained six major hypotheses and nine research questions. The results of this study indicated that the predominant leadership style among Mexican-American elementary and secondary school principals is high supportive, low directive. These principals also scored in the average range of leadership style flexibility and effectiveness. Findings further revealed that 37% of the Mexican-American principals possessed a high or very high degree of cultural flexibility, 46% a moderate degree of cultural flexibility and 17% a low or less than average degree of cultural flexibility. This data demonstrated that 37% of the principals in this study possessed a "mostly modern" orientation, 22% possessed a balanced orientation and 51% possessed a "mostly traditional" orientation. The hypotheses in this study were rejected. The findings did not reveal a positive correlation between principals' cultural flexibility scores and their leadership style, leadership style flexibility and effectiveness. The interview qualitative data, however, indicated that a majority of principals interviewed perceived that cultural flexibility does influence their leadership style and leadership effectiveness, particularly as it relates to communicating with students and parents, working with teachers, and possessing a broader sensitivity and understanding of educational issues in multicultural school environments. Considering the mixed findings and conclusions emerging from the quantitative and qualitative data, this study is an important first step in the investigation of the relationship between cultural flexibility and leadership in educational settings. This study provides recommendations for further inquiry and suggests implications for administrator preparation.



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