Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership, Research and Counseling

First Advisor

Eugene Kennedy


The purpose of this study was to explore whether the decision making authority of School Improvement Councils (SIC), teacher dominant, and/or Parent Advisory Councils (PAC) addresses and affects personnel, program, and budget building policy. The basic research question was, "How do shared governance councils operate?". This study approached the problem through mixed methodology strategy of research, using both quantitative and qualitative techniques. Phase One of the study involved quantitative methods that gathered data from a large sample of teachers and administrators. Phase Two involved qualitative interviews of a teacher, an administrator, and a parent that helped to confirm the initial findings and provide more in-depth detail. This study was a replication of a study done by Malen & Ogawa in 1988. They discovered that a pecking order in decision making influence existed in which principals controlled the decisions of the councils and are often joined by teachers in an attempt to exclude parents. In comparing this study to Malen & Ogawa's (1988), two differences were noted. First, administrators are beginning to relinquish some decision making powers, as indicated by the official enactment of decisions in the area of programming. Second, parents are beginning to be included, rather than excluded, in the decision making arenas. Evidence of this lies in the fact that all eight of the sample schools have parents on the SICs and four of the eight schools have implemented Parent Advisory Councils. Qualitative results indicated that the most significant impact that SICs have in the shared decision making process is in the overall programming area. Budget and personnel were topics of discussion at SIC meetings; however, no official enactments occurred. Thus, the researcher found that as the influence of teachers and parents on building-based councils increased, there was an increase in the success of school policies impacted by council decisions in the area of programming.