Administrator unions versus the management team concept: a comparative attitudinal study of principals, superintendants and board presidents in Iowa and Connecticut

Rowedder, Larry
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the present status of the management team concept as viewed by principals, superintendents, and boards of education in the public schools in Iowa. In addition, the study examined attitudes relating to formalized collective bargaining by public school principals. An attempt was made to compare attitudes among board members, principals and superintendents in Iowa along with those in similar positions in Connecticut--a state in which eighty percent of the public school districts already have formal collective bargaining agreements with their principals;The questionnaire used to collect the data contained fifty attitudinal statements relating to collective bargaining by principals. Respondents indicated their position on a five-point Likert scale from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree." The attitude statements represented ten categories depicting the ten most often stated reasons by principals for considering unionization: (1) unfavorable interpersonal relationships, (2) no voice in decision-making, (3) erosion of authority/power, (4) decline in morale, (5) inadequate communication, (6) lack of clarity in role definitions, (7) inadequate salary and fringe benefits, (8) protection/security, (9) esteem, and (10) a changed political environment;It was concluded that Iowa principals differ significantly from superintendents and board presidents in their attitudes relating to formal collective bargaining by principals. While strong, solid principal support for collective bargaining could not be substantiated, a number of interesting conclusions could be made;Most Iowa superintendents believed that they were providing a leadership style which encompassed the concept of team management. Eighty percent of the elementary principals in Iowa bought their story and less than fifty-six percent of the Iowa secondary principals in Iowa were believers. Attitudes varied somewhat with factors such as position, size of district, age and perceptions of present salaries of the building administrators;In Connecticut, all groups surveyed tended to have become more mellow than their Iowa counterparts in their attitudes toward collective bargaining. All four groups of respondents provided data suggesting attitudes more favorable to bargaining than did their Iowa counterparts;It was generally agreed that collective bargaining by Iowa principals would not provide a positive step toward improved principal/superintendent/board relationships, nor would such a move uphold the image of the principalship as viewed by patrons of the district. The younger less-experienced principal tended to be more satisfied with his/her working conditions than did the more-experienced ones.