Postprint version. Published in Educational Administration Quarterly, Volume 37, Issue 4, October 1, 2001, pages 533-570. Copyright © 2001 by University Council for Educational Administration. The definitive version is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00131610121969415.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author George Petersen was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
This exploratory study used components found in social influence theory and social style to examine the school board president’s perceptions of the district superintendent’s ability to influence the construction of the board agenda and voting decisions made by school boards in 131 randomly chosen school districts. Social influence theory and social style suggest that credibility, social attractiveness, assertiveness, and emotiveness are effective and compelling elements of influence. Results from this study suggest that favorable board decision making for superintendent-recommended action items is closely related to the superintendent’s trustworthiness (perceived use of skills and knowledge for the good of the district), expertise (specialized knowledge of the superintendent) and social attractiveness (perceived compatibility with board presidents). Findings also indicate that the attributes of social influence theory and social style are perceived as essential in the superintendent’s ability to develop and maintain a cooperative working relationship with board members and the community.