Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Loretta B. Johns

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

Gary Gifford


Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study was to examine the organizational orientations--structure ,human resource, political, and symbolic --of the K-12 school leaders in the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and the relationship, if any, to their personal variables of age, gender, experience, and their professional variables of grade levels served, educational attainment, enrollment, support, feelings of success, and job satisfaction.


A self-administered Organizational Orientations survey instrument, based on the multiple orientation framework of Bolman and Deal, was used to gather information about the school leaders. The population surveyed provided 56 usable responses, which were analyzed by descriptive statistics, t test, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and test of correlation coefficient. Sixteen orientation use (patterns) hypotheses were tested at an alpha level of 0.05. Sixteen orientation level (means) hypotheses were tested at an alpha level of 0.01, except for support, feelings of success, and job satisfaction (0.05). Findings from the content analysis--qualitative data--were compared to the findings from the survey data.


As a group, Adventist school leaders in the Columbia Union Conference rated the human resource orientation highest followed by the structural, symbolic, and political. The findings indicate that high-school configured school leaders were more politically oriented than Grade 8 configured school leaders. School leaders of small schools were more structurally oriented than school leaders of large schools. Structurally oriented school leaders felt more supported by their pastors and school boards than other school leaders. Multi-oriented school leaders felt more supported by their conference personnel. Qualitative findings indicated that school leaders were more symbolically oriented than they reported on the survey.


School leaders use the human resource orientation more than other orientations when making decisions concerning their organizations. High-school configured school leaders are more politically oriented. A significant number of structurally oriented school leaders of small schools feel supported more by the school board and pastors than do the other school leaders. In contrast multi-oriented school leaders felt more successful, satisfied, and supported by their conference personnel. The differences between support of school boards and pastors, and conference support to school leadership organizational orientation may be of concern.

Subject Area

Educational leadership; School management and organization


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