Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Raymond Latta, PhD, Director; Robert L. Infantino, EdD; Edward F. DeRoche, PhD


Alberta (Canada), California, charter schools, comparative study, elementary schools, Leadership studies, principals, school administration, traditional schools, transformational leadership


The purpose of this study was to examine the similarities and differences in preferred leadership qualities among a random sample of principals of traditional elementary schools in California, traditional elementary schools in Alberta, Canada, and selected charter schools in the United States. The intent of the research was to identify the preferred leadership practices of each study group to determine and report significant differences and similarities. Seventy-five principals were randomly selected, 25 from each of the three study groups, to complete the survey. Forty-two principals (56%) returned surveys. Of the surveys returned, 40 were usable for the study. The theoretical foundation for the study was provided by the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) developed by Bass and Avolio (1989). The MLQ provided 10 measures to be used as independent variables. Of the 10 measures, 4 related to transformational leadership, 2 to leadership, 1 related to non-leadership, and 3 related to outcome measures as a result of the leadership practice. Four primary research questions, each with a supporting null hypothesis, were tested using one-way ANOVAs resulting in 71 significant differences. The study of the preferred leadership qualities of principals in selected American charter schools, Alberta elementary public schools, and California elementary public schools confirmed that each group preferred transformational leadership practices over either transactional or nonleadership, practices. The degree of preference for transformational leadership practices of each principal group was, however, significantly different. The research identified the perception of each of the leadership groups on their use of seven leadership factors and the degree to which three outcome factors, pertaining to leadership, contributed to their success. The findings clearly indicated American charter school principals perceive themselves as transformational leaders significantly more than did either Alberta or California public elementary school principals at the 0.05 level of confidence. Charter school principals scored significantly higher than Alberta elementary school principals on three of the four transformational leadership factors: charisma, inspiration, and intellectual stimulation. When compared to California elementary school principals, charter school principals scored significantly higher on one of the four transformational leadership measures, charisma. Each of the three principal groups appeared to be in a state of transition from the traditional role of instructional leader toward a new role of Chief Executive Officers of their schools. The principal group scores also indicated that today's principals preferred the collaborative transformational approach to leadership over the traditional leadership style. As a result of the study, seven recommendations for future study were made. Four suggestions for practical applications of the study were also suggested.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access