Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

James Sweeney


This study analyzed perceptions of shared decision making (SDM) in early stages of implementation as related to selected factors associated with school improvement. The selected factors were restructuring of roles and decision-making processes, empowerment, involvement in decisions, collegiality, collaboration, and teaching and learning;Data were collected from the Marshalltown Community School District's Shared Decision Making project during the 1990-91 school year. Two methods were used to collect data. The first was a 52-item survey of all district staff members (N = 602) in January, 1991. The return rate was 64%. Survey data were disaggregated according to job categories and according to membership and nonmembership on building planning teams. The second method of data collection was individual interviews. Interviews were conducted with a stratified sample of 104 staff members from all job categories in February and March, 1991. Interviewers used a 23-question open-ended instrument in individual structured interviews. A three-step process was used to analyze and summarize interview data;Within the limitations of this study the following conclusions were reached: (1) SDM roles and decision-making processes are not clear to the majority of staff; staff is not sure who is supposed to make what decisions or how they are to be made. (2) Staff members view empowerment as a desirable goal, but half the staff don't feel empowered in areas that affect their jobs. (3) Planning team members are more positive than nonmembers about SDM, its potential for producing significant change, and its potential for success. (4) Collegiality exists within the buildings. Staff feels colleagues respect their opinions. (5) Most staff perceive themselves as collaborating with colleagues to address and solve problems. (6) The SDM project has produced little effect upon teaching and learning. (7) SDM is viewed as a very desirable goal, but it is being practiced only to a moderate degree in the buildings. (8) Classified staff have little knowledge of the project and its purposes. (9) Communications about the SDM project have been ineffective. (10) Staff is positive toward the project, but don't think that literature and research have affected how teachers do things.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Thomas J. Renze



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

221 pages