Date of Award

Spring 4-19-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Phil Pendley

Second Advisor

Marilyn Saucedo

Third Advisor

Martinrex Kedziora


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to describe the perceptions of current public school superintendents in Southern California regarding the impact of emotional intelligence on their leadership in four areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and social management. An additional purpose of this study was to describe any differences between current male and female superintendents on the impact of emotional intelligence on their leadership. Methodology: The phenomenological study design was a semi-structured interview process (Patton, 2015) of a sample of current California public school superintendents with an equal number of both male and female interviewees. The instrumentation of the study was a set of interview questions adapted from Bradberry and Greaves’ emotional intelligence framework. Findings: Emotional intelligence contributes to the superintendents’ being able to lead effectively, supporting the following attributes: appropriately reacting and responding to a variety of situations, learning through coaching and mentoring, effectively communicating with all stakeholders, building relationships, being aware of the emotional intelligence in others, living up to the expectations of being a leader, providing strategies to mitigate emotional reactions, and creating emotional safety. There are no significant differences in the responses between male and female superintendents. Conclusions: Emotional intelligence is an essential part of a superintendent’s leadership. Although the majority still believe it can be learned and developed, many see it as difficult to teach. Females are more aware of the differences in standards between genders than men are; however, both men and women share the same perception of the effect of emotional intelligence on their leadership. Recommendations: Examine whether race changes perceptions of the effect of emotional intelligence on the superintendents’ leadership: Extend the study to different regions in California and outside of California to see if the same themes hold true or if it is regional: Examine models of emotional intelligence in administrative development programs and their effectiveness: Examine the comparison between responses in the effects of emotional intelligence on the superintendent’s leadership with those in their organization such as employees, board, and other stakeholders: Explore willingness to mentor of female and male superintendents: Explore effect of networking or coaching and mentoring to the effectiveness of a superintendent's leadership.