Date of Award

Winter 12-20-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Patricia White Clark

Second Advisor

Dr. Arthur "Skip" Roland

Third Advisor

Dr. Suzette Lovely


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

Methodology: This explanatory sequential mixed methods study research design used data collected from a quantitative survey followed by qualitative data collected using semistructured face-to-face interviews. The data in this study were obtained from 5 exemplary suburban unified superintendents using the 9 political styles framework from The Politically Intelligent Leader (White, Harvey, & Fox, 2016). This allowed the researcher to draw conclusions based on political style information provided by superintendents and identify specific strategies used by exemplary superintendents for different board member political styles.

Findings: The findings of this research and literature support exemplary superintendents using knowledge of political style to interact with and influence their board members. Findings also show that exemplary superintendents differentiate strategies based on perceived board member political styles. Study superintendents identified specific strategies as effective when working with all board member political styles.

Conclusions: This study concluded that superintendents must understand their own political style and the styles of their board members to discern effective strategies that will work with different board member political styles. Research findings and literature also concluded that strong, positive relationships are necessary to understand which strategies will be most effective with various board member political styles. Findings support that exemplary superintendents must intentionally implement strategies that address the political style of their board members to influence the behavior of an individual board member or the collective board.

Recommendations: Further research is advised for the study of strategies used with different political styles by replicating this study with a broader population of different superintendent populations, other educational institutions, and geographical areas. In addition, further research is advised in other professions and industries.