Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Patricia Clark White, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Suzette Lovely, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Arthur J. “Skip” Roland, Ed.D.


Purpose: The purpose of this explanatory mixed-methods study was to identify the political styles of female superintendents and their school board members as perceived by superintendents. In addition, it was the purpose of this study to identify and explain the political strategies female superintendents use to work with the different political styles of board members.

Methodology: This study employed a sequential, explanatory mixed-methods design. The quantitative data were collected through surveys to identify the political styles of superintendents and their board members. The qualitative interview data explored the political strategies used by each superintendent with the different political styles of board members.

Findings: Exemplary female superintendents differentiate approaches based on board members’ individual needs, know their board members’ agendas, and provide information to develop understanding with all political styles of board members.

Conclusions: It was concluded that female superintendents who want to influence board members must differentiate their approach based on the needs, interests, and political style of each individual board member. They must build trust by demonstrating genuine care and concern, listening and following through on board member interests, and consistently honoring their agreements. In order to keep board members working together toward organizational interests, female superintendents must maintain awareness of the political context and understand the agendas of board members. Frequent and strategic communication should be used to gain board members’ support for organizational goals. Female superintendents who work with challenger-style board members should exude confidence, communicate strategically, and include others when conflict arises.

Recommendations: Further research is recommended on the political strategies used exclusively by male superintendents, examining the similarities and differences in political styles based on gender, the impact of gender on the relationships between superintendents and board members, and political strategies used with different experience levels and in different regions of the United States.