Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Chad D. Ellett

Second Advisor

Charles Teddlie


The purpose for this study was fourfold. First, a conceptual model was developed to help understand teacher perceptions of the schools' professional culture, teachers' self-efficacy beliefs, participation in decision making and linkages to school effectiveness. Second, an original measure of teachers' self-efficacy beliefs about their own teaching effectiveness was developed and tested. Third, characteristics of the measures (quantitative and qualitative) were reported. Fourth differences in the mediating variables related to school effectiveness were examined. A stratified sample made up of 1,057 total school faculty in 41 elementary schools representing the uppermost and lower most quartiles of poverty in a southern state was used. Complete and useable data were collected from 555 teachers in 34 schools. Three measures were used for quantitative analyses: the Revised School Culture Elements Questionnaire-Short Form, the Teachers' Self-Efficacy Beliefs Scale-Short-Form, and the Teacher Decision-Making Scale. Case study research enhanced the study by providing additional data from twelve teachers in two schools. Data collection tools included the focus group protocol, contextual observation checklist, and existing school improvement plans. Major findings of this study showed: (1) a statistically significant and strong positive relationship between teacher perceptions of the school's professional culture and school effectiveness, (2) that the strength of teachers' self-efficacy beliefs was linked to the schools' professional culture and to school effectiveness, (3) teacher participation in decision-making was not directly related to school effectiveness, but rather to dimensions of the school's professional culture, and (4) qualitative analyses enhanced the quantitative findings and helped provide meaningful explanations, supported the trustworthiness of the study, and clarified the study findings. The results in this study supported the theoretical framework used to understand the schools' professional culture, teachers' self-efficacy beliefs, and participation in decision making as part of each school's dynamic social system. Collectively, the study variables represent complex process dimensions that can be used to understand how to create a school that demonstrates quality and effectiveness.