Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Donald Piper

Second Advisor

Richard Hill

Third Advisor

Richard Landry


The purpose of this study was (1) to determine how elementary and secondary teachers in a large North Dakota school district perceived the power base use of their principals and (2) to determine how satisfied these teachers were with the power base use.

The researcher administered the Power Perception Profile- Perception of Other and a brief questionnaire to the teachers to study the relationship between satisfaction and background variables. Of 544 teachers in the district, 410 participated resulting in 379 usable responses, a total of 69.7% of all teachers in the district. Interviews were conducted with principals after results were analyzed.

Teachers were asked to respond to all items of the instrument two times, once in terms of the principal’s actual and once in terms of the principal’s ideal power base use. Differences between the actual and ideal scores were calculated and totaled to create a total difference (d-score) which was used as a measure of teacher satisfaction with the perceived use of principal power base use.

The data were analyzed by school level using analysis of variance, Pearson product moment correlations, t-tests, and descriptive analysis of power base rankings.

Rankings of the power bases most used by principals were generally in accord with the findings from other studies in business, industry, and higher education as well as from studies in K-12 educational settings. Expert, legitimate, and referent power bases were perceived as most used by principals and connection and coercive power bases as least used. Responses to individual power bases also were similar to previous findings. Teacher satisfaction was positively associated with principal uses of expert and reference power bases and negatively associated with coercive, connection, legitimate, and reward power bases. Analysis of the range of d-scores and their frequency distribution reflected general satisfaction with principal power base use.

Teacher communication with the principal and perceived teacher influence on school operations were positively associated with teacher satisfaction at both elementary and secondary levels. Principal differential use of power based on teacher gender, age, and teaching experience was negatively associated with satisfaction.