Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the decision-making process and the effects of buffering and thinking styles on the processes as employed by public school superintendents in Iowa. To accomplish this, comparisons were made between superintendents identified by their peers as being exemplary and a group of randomly selected superintendents. The Gregorc Style Delineator and a researcher-developed questionnaire were used to gather data. The Gregorc Style Delineator identified the respondents' thinking styles and the researcher-developed questionnaire gathered demographic data, information to measure decision-making proficiency, priority rankings, and the use of buffers;To examine the decision-making process and the linkages that exist between decision-making, buffering, and styles of thinking, the following variables were examined: (1) the decision-making proficiency of exemplary and randomly selected superintendents; (2) the use of buffering alternatives; (3) the relationship between buffering scores and priority rankings; (4) the predominant thinking styles; (5) the decision-making process; and (6) the effect of training in the area of decision-making. The data gathered were subjected to the appropriate tests of significance with a .05 level of significance required for rejection;The findings revealed that there were no significant relationships between priority rankings, buffering scores, or the way they were employed by either group. The Concrete/Sequential style of thinking was the predominant style for both the exemplary and randomly selected groups. It was determined that training recognized as being in the area of decision-making did make a significant difference in the way the implementation step of the decision-making process was used;Decision-making is one of the central functions of any administrative organization. However, this study indicates that the decision-making process as practiced by superintendents is neither well-developed nor process-oriented. This would indicate a definite need for training institutions to be more specific in teaching emphasis on its use and application and to make in-service opportunities available to current practitioners.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

David A. Haggard



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

119 pages