The primary purpose of this study is to examine characteristics of principal leadership influencing school culture as viewed by stakeholders involved in the International Schools Group (ISG) in Saudi Arabia. A secondary purpose of this study is to inform ISG educational leaders about the perspectives of their respective stakeholder groups regarding principal leadership characteristics and school culture.
Four research questions guided this study. The research questions focused on the characteristics of principal leadership that influence school culture as viewed by ISG parents, support staff, teachers, administrators, and Board of Trustees members. Other questions were analyzed according to perspectives from each division within ISG: the American Division, the British Division, and the International Division; gender; and Western and non-Western nationalities.
A mixed methods study was conducted for this research. The design included an electronic survey, focus groups, and individual interviews, and data were gathered through qualitative and quantitative methods. Using a concurrent triangulation strategy, quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS v. 18. Descriptive statistics were used for research question 1, an ANOVA for research question 2, and t-tests for research questions 3 and 4. Qualitative data was analyzed by comparing and contrasting the results from the focus groups and individual interviews to determine similarities and differences.
Using a one-way factorial ANOVA, the results indicate that there are statistically significant differences in seven leadership characteristics as viewed by the American Division, the International Division, and the British Division. An independent sample 2-way t-test was conducted to determine if there were any statistically significant differences in gender perspectives or Western and non-Western perspectives. Five leadership characteristics were statistically significant according to gender, while the findings indicate that there were 14 characteristics that were statistically significant between Western and non-Western participants.
Qualitatively, focus groups and individual interviews resulted in identifying two primary leadership characteristics that influence school culture: being an effective communicator and being ethical while demonstrating integrity.
It is hoped that this dissertation will help ISG leaders and other educational professionals understand the role that leaders play in impacting school culture.