Date of Award

Winter 12-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Keith Larick

Second Advisor

George Sziraki

Third Advisor

Walt Buster


Purpose: The purpose of this mixed methods study was to understand the political styles of high school district superintendents and school board members as perceived by superintendents. In addition, it was the purpose of this study to identify the political strategies high school district superintendents use to work with the different political styles of board members. Methodology: Through an explanatory sequential mixed-methods study design, an electronic survey was utilized to collect quantitative data. Following quantitative data collection, in-depth qualitative data was collected through one-on-one interviews with exemplary high school district superintendents in California. The results of the quantitative survey data and qualitative interviews were then analyzed. Findings: Analysis of data from both the survey and interviews of five exemplary high school district superintendents resulted in several major findings: (a) Superintendents should work in the interest of the organization when working with school board members; (b) Superintendents work with all political styles of school board members; (c) Exemplar superintendents utilize effective communication strategies when working with the various political styles of school board members; (d) Managing the decision making process through various strategies is crucial when working with school board members; and (e) Exemplar superintendents use effective strategies in conflict resolution when working with school board members. vi Conclusions: It can be concluded, based on the findings of this study that high school district superintendents must be prepared to work with school board members with various political styles. Further, superintendents must learn a variety of effective strategies to work with all nine political styles. Recommendations: It is recommended a future study collect data from superintendents and board members to add to the breadth and depth of the data collected. A better narrative understanding of the perspective of board members would add powerful information to the existing framework.