Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Joseph C. Rost, PhD, Director; Diane C. Hatton, DNSc; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD


California, case study, education, elementary education, leadership relationships, Leadership studies, qualitative, William Glasser's Consortium of Quality Schools


Education in Western countries has been under attack in recent years. Numerous individuals and groups have made attempts to reform or restructure the system in which students are schooled. Such change is difficult and on many occasions the attempts at reform resulted in very superficial modifications. Significant change can come from a complex interaction of people where leaders and collaborators work interactively to achieve common purposes. This research examined one school, which is part of William Glasser's consortium of Quality Schools, where significant changes took place. Glasser's control theory has played an important role in the change process. The challenge was to determine the nature of leadership in the school as the changes unfolded and so the focus was on the leadership processes that occurred. The study examined the various ways in which people used influence and how they established and sustained influence relationships to make substantive changes in the education processes at the school. The researcher used a qualitative case study methodology to examine the school in rural California. Through this methodology it was possible to provide an outline of the range of strategies that people used to entice others to enter into relationships with them, relationships that brought about significant change that reflected the mutual purposes of the people concerned. The findings of the study indicate that for significant change to occur adults in the school must change their beliefs about the nature of the school, about their relationships with one another and about their relationships with the students. Leaders and collaborators can best achieve changes that reflected their mutual purposes when they confront the beliefs they have brought with them from their past and take steps to change those beliefs through enabling and encouraging noncoercive influence relationships to exist between them. Changing beliefs is assisted by changing the language that is used in the school, particularly changing the metaphors used to speak about the school and the relationships that exist there.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access