Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Lynn Harrill


Principal Leadership and School Culture within

A School-Wide Implementation of Professional Crisis Management:

A Redemptive vs. Punitive Model


Mark Thomas Adams

This qualitative study investigated the nature of the relationship between principal leadership and school culture within a school-wide implementation of Professional Crisis Management (PCM). PCM is a comprehensive and fully integrated system designed to manage crisis situations effectively, safely, and with dignity. While designed primarily to assist individuals in crisis situations, much of the system is comprised of non-physical interventions in the form of crisis prevention strategies and positive reinforcement that were effective with students at all points on the behavior continuum. Behavior Tools, the companion course also based on behavior theory, was introduced in the research site in 2012.

Participants included principals, teachers, and one behavior interventionist from a Title I public school district in the upstate of South Carolina. All participants held certifications in one or both behavior management systems and used the prevention, de-escalation, crisis intervention, and post-crisis strategies in their classrooms and schools.

The findings of this inquiry contributed to the body of literature on the influence of principal leadership and school culture and proposed that without extensive additional training, specifically in behavior theory, educators were ill-equipped to manage the

challenging behaviors in today's changing society. The results confirmed that changing adult behaviors by increasing the frequency of positive engagements and reinforcement and embracing a redemptive paradigm of behavior shaping and intervention that preserved the dignity of each child contributed to high trust, low stress environments that stimulated social and academic success and constituted a shift toward a more positive school culture.

This inquiry was significant in the field of education as it highlighted the need for additional training in behavior theory for school employees, a shift away from a punitive paradigm toward a more redemptive response to behavior that shaped positive school cultures, and the need for district and state policy makers to consider the more comprehensive systems of PCM and Behavior Tools as the state model for behavior management and intervention.


© 2013, Mark Thomas Adams