Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Joseph W. Licata


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships among principal supervisory expertise and teacher work autonomy and the environmental robustness of the school. Social systems theory was the guiding theoretical framework in the design and interpretation of this study. Supervisory expertise refers to a concrete set of behaviors, skills, and/or knowledge reflecting a clinical supervision model that principals demonstrate to teachers. Teacher satisfaction with the supervisory program was also measured. Teacher autonomy refers to the independence teachers maintain in exercising discretion within their classrooms to make instructional decisions. Environmental robustness is conceptualized as the perceived dramatic content of the school structure. Teachers' perceptions of the robustness of: (1) their role as a teacher; (2) their principal; (3) their students; and (4) other teachers were measured. This is a study of the teacher group in the school organization. This study examines the collective perspective that teachers in schools have about these three variables. Data were collected from 1006 elementary teachers in 57 public schools and mean scores were calculated on the measures of each of these variables. The school was the unit of statistical analysis. Summary statistics were computed for teachers' perceptions of both the expertise of their principals as supervisors of instruction and their satisfaction about the supervisory program in their schools, as well as for teacher autonomy and environmental robustness of their role as a teacher, their principal, their students and their colleagues. Relationships between these variables were all hypothesized in the positive direction. Pearson product-moment correlations were computed to investigate the research hypotheses. A significant positive relationship was found between teachers' perceptions of their satisfaction with the supervisory program and their sense of autonomy. No significant relationships were found between teacher autonomy and the robustness of key roles in the school. Supervisory expertise of the principal was positively and significantly correlated with the robustness of the principal. Teachers' satisfaction with the supervisory program was positively and significantly correlated with the robustness of the principal, the robustness of other teachers, and the total robustness. A significant multivariate relationship was identified through canonical correlation between the two supervisory variables and the set of robustness variables.