Date of Award

Fall 2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dawn Basinger

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the Stages of Concern (SoC) that school principals have toward change and then report participants' behavior relevant to their Level of Use (LoU) of an innovation. An understanding of principals' concerns regarding change suggested a variety of factors that impede educational leaders' implementation of innovations and change within the school environment.

The researcher studied principals' perspectives regarding change implementation in the course of their daily administrative activities. Although many principals are aware and knowledgeable of the current standards for school leadership, difficulties arise when innovations and change are implemented. This study was designed to inform current research on successful change management in education.

The use of surveys, interviews, and participant debriefing provided for a triangulation of the data. The survey results were used to develop a framework for the semi-structured interviews. The research problem was founded upon the need to more thoroughly understand the difficulties that school leaders have in facilitating change in their leadership practices. Therefore, the following questions guided this study: 1. What are principals' top three concerns related to change? 2. What are principals' predominate Stages of Concern? 3. Are there relationships between principals' Stages of Concern and their years of service? 4. Are there relationships between principals' Stages of Concern and the percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunch in their school? 5. Are there relationships between principals' Stages of Concern and school size? 6. Do principals' Stages of Concern affect their ability to manage change and improve capacity-building within the school?

The researcher found that principals were concerned with the acceptance of innovations as well as the resources of funding and time. The Stages of Concern questionnaire results supported that principals' concerns complicate the implementation of an innovation. A significant relationship exists between Stage of Concern 3, Management, and principals' years of service as well as Stage of Concern 6, Refocusing, and the percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunches. The Levels of Use interview data supported that principals' Stages of Concern affect their ability to manage change and improve their capacity-building within the school.

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