Date of Award

Spring 3-26-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Patrick Ainsworth

Second Advisor

Dr. Keith Larik

Third Advisor

Dr. Wesley Smith


Purpose: The purpose of this mixed methods study was to identify and describe the organizational socialization processes implemented by school districts to support first-year principals. In addition, it was the purpose of this study to identify and describe the degree to which first-year principals perceive these processes are effective.

Methodology: This study identified and described district implementation of organizational socialization supporting first-year principals enrolled in the ACSA Clear Administrative Credentialing Program. The participants completed a survey and were interviewed, which provide the data analyzed.

Findings: The are several findings from this study. Only two thirds of participants experienced organizational socialization. New principals receive information around rules, laws, roles, and responsibilities the most from meetings and department leads. The special education department provided the most organizational socialization information. Information regarding the formal and informal norms was experienced the least. Most organizational socialization information came from district office leaders, school staff, and prior experience. And finally, for most organizational socialization processes are ineffective.

Conclusions: Several conclusions may be drawn from the literature and findings of this study. School districts seldom use purposeful organizational socialization processes with new principals. The lack of knowledge about district culture prevents principals from becoming insiders in districts. Lack of clarity and intentional use has resulted in ineffective organizational socialization practices. District departments overseeing the implementation of state and federal laws are more likely to implement organizational socialization. New principals hired from within the district have a positive experience with organizational socialization. Lastly, organizational socialization is most effective when lead by when district administrators.

Recommendations: Several recommendations for further research came from this study: a Delphi study to identify content to be included in organizational socialization processes in districts, an ethnographic study to deeply examine organizational socialization in one school district, a mixed methods study on the ways new principals received information, a correlational study comparing the experience of new principals hired from within and those hired from outside the district, a study examining the exit of new principals, and lastly, a study of how the experience of principals of color should differ.