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Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Education; Education Policy, Research, and Administration

First Advisor

Mary Lynn Boscardin

Second Advisor

Robert Marx

Third Advisor

Craig Wells

Subject Categories

Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership


This dissertation investigates Vermont principals' perceptions of leadership attributes linked to the role of the principal. It is guided by four research questions: (1) are there any clusters of participants who sorted the principal leadership attribute items similarly and differently; (2) how are the principal leadership attribute items within each factor ranked by the participants; (3) to what extent do the participants within each factor similarly describe the leadership attributes; and (4) to what extent do the participants within each factor find leadership attributes to be most/least characteristic of their roles? Consequently, thirty-five Vermont principals participated in Q-sort activities, which involved sorting forty-five leadership statements from the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ). The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire had been validated in previous studies. Participants' sorts were subjected to factor analysis to identify similarities and differences among sorts. The analysis of the data revealed the presence of two factors. Factor A members consisted of eighteen subjects who placed high value on leadership items linked to collective mission, purpose, and goal. Factor B members consisted of sixteen subjects who ranked high leadership attributes linked to collegiality and collaboration. The qualitative data provided further insight into factors' perceptions of leadership attributes. Because of the ways the factors sorted and reacted to leadership attributes, the two Factor A members were assigned the name mission-oriented , and Factor B members were assigned the name collaboration-oriented. The findings of this investigation revealed the emergence of the mission-oriented collaborative leadership. Under the mission-oriented collaborative leadership, school leaders witness individuals in their schools engage in fluid, genuine, reverential, and open conversations about the organization and processes group members will use to achieve community, state, and federal accountability expectations. The mission-oriented collaborative leadership style provides a synergy for meeting both the needs of the organization and the individuals who provide the human capital. Future research studies should focus on the effects mission-oriented collaborative leadership approach has on teachers' productivity, local reform efforts in the schools, and student achievement as measured by state accountability systems.