Date of Award

12-2018

Culminating Project Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.

Department

Educational Administration and Higher Education

College

School of Education

First Advisor

Kay Worner

Second Advisor

Roger Worner

Third Advisor

John Eller

Fourth Advisor

Frances Kayona

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

principals, positive psychological capacities, critical incidents, authentic leadership, hope, self-efficiency, resilience, optimism

Abstract

The foci of the study are the impacts of positive psychological capacities (PsyCaps) of hope, resilient, self-efficacy, and optimism on the authentic leadership of Minnesota secondary school principals during professional critical incidents. A critical incident is “defined as an interruption in the expected behaviours and developments in one’s life that produces strong emotions and a need to ‘make sense’ of the situation” (Weick, 1995; WorksafeBC, 2002, as cited in Lenarduzzi, 2015, p. 254). A professional critical incident is a reminder that leadership consists of successes and failures. Critical incidents make and remake leaders who are courageous enough to participate in self-reflection for personal and professional growth (Ackerman & Maslin-Ostrowski, 2002, 2004a, 2004b; Badaracco, 1997; Bennis & Thomas, 2002b, 2007; Maslin-Ostrowski & Ackerman, 2000; Quinn, 2005; Yamamoto, Gardiner, & Tenuto, 2014). While there is research on critical incidents and authentic leadership, there is no research on the impact of PsyCaps on select Minnesota secondary school principals’ authentic leadership performances during professional critical incidents.

The research approach adopted in this dissertation is a mixed methods approach. The quantitative component of the study utilized an online survey to gather data regarding the attitudes and behaviors associated with self-efficacy, hope, resilience, and optimism that Minnesota secondary school principals reported they utilized during professional critical incidents. A modified Psychological Capital Questionnaire (PCQ) survey was used in agreement with the copyright holders of the survey. The qualitative component of the study involved interviews with three principals who voluntarily submitted their contact information on the survey. Data from the survey and the interviews were analyzed to determine the attitudes and behaviors associated with positive psychological capacities a sample of Minnesota secondary school principals perceived they utilized to lead authentically during professional critical incidents and which of the positive psychological capacities they perceived had the greatest impact on their authentic leadership performances during professional critical incidents. Data from the interviews were analyzed to determine the impacts of the positive psychological capacities of hope, self-efficacy, resilience, and optimism on the successful leadership performances during professional critical incidents as perceived by select Minnesota secondary school principals.

The findings from the study provided evidence that select Minnesota secondary school principals perceived themselves as having high positive PsyCaps during critical incidents. All survey items were rated by principal respondents in the above average to high range on a 6-point Likert scale since all items had a mean score above a 4.0. The PsyCaps of confidence in analyzing situations, confidence in communicating building needs to superordinates, and confidence in successfully communicating strategies had the highest mean scores on the PCQ by select Minnesota secondary school principals during critical incidents. The study provides principals with information about psychological capacities, authentic leadership, and behaviors during critical incidents. It may also provide insight into future professional growth opportunities for principals in the area of psychological capacities.

Comments/Acknowledgements

The work would not be possible without the support, encouragement, and insight of my dissertation committee, Dr. Kay Worner, Dr. Roger Worner, Dr. Frances Kayona, and Dr. John Eller. Without their guidance and care, I would most certainly be lost. I am especially indebted to my advisor, Dr. Kay Worner, who graciously offered her time, talents, and wisdom to ensure my success.

Thank you to the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals for partnering with me to facilitate my research. I am eternally grateful.

To Cohort VII, thank you for all of the camaraderie, encouragement, and support throughout my dissertation journey. A special thank you to Jill, Michelle and Sarah for being a true support net. You are a phenomenal group of individuals to take this journey with and are now friends for life.

Finally, thank you to my husband, Matt Welch, who has allowed me to spend the time I need away from the family to complete my dream. He patiently listened to my ideas, dilemmas, and concerns as he encouraged me throughout this journey. I am truly blessed with his endless love and support.

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