Dissertation

Impact of cultural intelligence on the leadership practices of elementary principals

Dissertation (Ed.D., Educational Leadership) -- California State University, Sacramento, 2012.

The transformation of schools is a common theme in public policy on school education in many nations. Some are in response to immediate concerns about the level of student achievement, for example in the publicized findings on the California Department of Education website, 2011. With the realization that different approaches to schooling are needed for individual and societal success in a knowledge economy, the task to lead transformation of schools is seen as a complex and challenging endeavor. 
 Many school systems and school principals seem energized by the transformation of current systems and are looking forward to new standards and identifying strategies to achieve better outcomes of success with students. 
 The purpose of this study was to determine whether and to what degree elementary school principals exhibiting successful leadership characteristics within their school sites and communities exhibit higher levels of cultural intelligence. The study used three specific instruments to gather the data combining both qualitative and quantitative approaches in the collection. The quantitative data was collected from the use of a 20-item four-factor Cultural Intelligence Scale. Additional qualitative data was collected from a one-on-one interview and an ethnographic field study where each principal participant was observed. The study included the quantitative measurement of 39 principals in one school district and five qualitative case studies of randomly selected principals from the 12 who demonstrated successful principal leadership within the school site.
 Findings from this study revealed the 34 principal leaders possessed above mean averages for levels of cultural intelligence as indicated on the quantitative Cultural Intelligence Scale. Further, the findings indicated that the five randomly selected and deemed exceptionally effective principals not only scored higher than the 34 original leaders, but they were also aware of and used their cultural intelligence in their daily interactions with community, students, and staff. The five selected individuals demonstrated behaviors aligning with the high levels of cultural intelligence. 
 The concluding information of the study indicates that effective principals do possess higher levels of measured and observable cultural intelligence. Evidence also indicates that the effective principals are aware of these levels of cultural intelligence and use this awareness to improve their interactions with individuals from diverse cultures.

The transformation of schools is a common theme in public policy on school education in many nations. Some are in response to immediate concerns about the level of student achievement, for example in the publicized findings on the California Department of Education website, 2011. With the realization that different approaches to schooling are needed for individual and societal success in a knowledge economy, the task to lead transformation of schools is seen as a complex and challenging endeavor. Many school systems and school principals seem energized by the transformation of current systems and are looking forward to new standards and identifying strategies to achieve better outcomes of success with students. The purpose of this study was to determine whether and to what degree elementary school principals exhibiting successful leadership characteristics within their school sites and communities exhibit higher levels of cultural intelligence. The study used three specific instruments to gather the data combining both qualitative and quantitative approaches in the collection. The quantitative data was collected from the use of a 20-item four-factor Cultural Intelligence Scale. Additional qualitative data was collected from a one-on-one interview and an ethnographic field study where each principal participant was observed. The study included the quantitative measurement of 39 principals in one school district and five qualitative case studies of randomly selected principals from the 12 who demonstrated successful principal leadership within the school site. Findings from this study revealed the 34 principal leaders possessed above mean averages for levels of cultural intelligence as indicated on the quantitative Cultural Intelligence Scale. Further, the findings indicated that the five randomly selected and deemed exceptionally effective principals not only scored higher than the 34 original leaders, but they were also aware of and used their cultural intelligence in their daily interactions with community, students, and staff. The five selected individuals demonstrated behaviors aligning with the high levels of cultural intelligence. The concluding information of the study indicates that effective principals do possess higher levels of measured and observable cultural intelligence. Evidence also indicates that the effective principals are aware of these levels of cultural intelligence and use this awareness to improve their interactions with individuals from diverse cultures.

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