Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

William K. Poston


The purpose of this study was to examine the faculty work culture in selected comprehensive high schools in the United States. More specifically, the study was designed to describe the culture of the schools, determine the common and unique themes in the work culture, and to determine the relative strength and valence of specific school work culture elements;Qualitative methodology was employed in this study that was conducted in two phases. During Phase I data were collected using individual and focus group interviews to gain an "emic perspective of the shared beliefs, values, and basic assumptions held by staff that reflects the culture of their school. Certificated and non-certificated full and part-time staff members participated in the study. Across the 10 schools that participated, 355 faculty members were interviewed in the focus group sessions, and another 290 participated in the individual interviews. The second phase of the study was designed to verify the accurateness of the data collected in each school during the first phase;The data were then analyzed by the researcher to identify the common, shared and unique themes across the 10 schools, and to provide a description of the faculty work culture in each school. To determine the extent that culture in each school provides support for school improvement and change, a profile of each school was developed using the Culture Profile Sheet which identifies elements that are considered in the literature as productive school culture elements;Results of the study include: Commonalities are found across schools while unique characteristics are a direct result of the culture. The majority of the schools do not have a psyche (a pervasive way of thinking) that supports school improvement and change. It is the perception of staff in these schools that they are not empowered, lack a sense of self-efficacy that is needed to engage in school improvement initiatives, and are not optimistic about their future chances for success.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Sandra L. Barnes



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

228 pages