Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies

First Advisor

Edward Cox


Very little research has been published regarding the change style preferences and leadership styles of secondary principals in South Carolina who have a common background. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to identify the preferred change style preference of principals in South Carolina that have an arts background and the change style preferences of principals without an arts background. This study would also determine if these styles were the same or different. Quantitative data were gathered from online administration of the Change Style Indicator (CSI), the South Carolina Department of Education, and the South Carolina Association of School Administrators websites. The CSI provided style preferences of participating principals based on a continuum of three designations; conserver, pragmatist, and originator. Interviews with eight secondary principals which included four with arts backgrounds and four without an arts background provided qualitative data. Four of these principals were scored conservers and four were pragmatists. Triangulation of data was achieved through the comparison of interview responses to actual scores designated by the online CSI report, comparison data of the four conservers and the four pragmatists, comparisons of interview data analysis, and mean scores for related questions and statements on the CSI for both sample groups of principals. The results of the research revealed that secondary principals with an arts background reported results that suggested a preference towards the conserver while principals without an arts background reported results that suggested a preference towards the pragmatist. Interview results revealed that principals with an arts background had a different prediction of their preferred change style than what was revealed through their self-reported responses. Recommendations included conducting research using the elementary principals in the state in these two subgroups, and reproducing this research in other states. This information could be used to display the similarities and differences in the leadership styles of these two subgroups by revealing the expected behaviors associated with each identified style. This information could enable personnel directors to match the applicant to the school which could best benefit from the candidate’s leadership styles, thereby creating a school climate that is conducive for long term academic success.