Principals’ Perceptions of the Barriers and Impediments to Distribute Leadership and Share Decision Making Under an Era of Heightened Accountability: An Exploratory Study Using Q-Technique
Educational institutions—and, more specifically, principals—are faced with meeting the mandates and demands set forth by local, state, and federal initiatives. Accountability has forever changed the context in which the traditional role of a principal leads. This study examines the beliefs, attitudes, and opinions of public high school principals on distributed leadership within a context of accountability. In addition, it investigates their trust levels. The study of subjectivity can be employed utilizing systematic a mixed-methods approach called Q technique. This methodology has the power to reveal the shared viewpoints or intersubjectivity and models held by public high school principals. Data were analyzed from 28 suburban New York public high school principals located in Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, or Westchester counties concerning their beliefs regarding the potential barriers and impediments in distributing leadership responsibilities within the context of heightened accountability. In addition, it assessed their trust levels as these levels related to distributing their leadership. This study identified and examined 3 models of shared viewpoints held by public high school principals. Background characteristics were utilized to describe the clusters of participating principals. These characteristics consisted of: years of experience as a public-school administrator, years of prior experience as a teacher, highest level of education, and decade graduated from high school. Information was also gathered regarding principals’ beliefs in the effectiveness of distributed leadership. The 3 Q models revealed, consensus and disagreement. To identify and understand where changes in leadership must be made, it is necessary to research school leadership from an alternative perspective by understanding the intersubjectivity of high school principals.