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ERIC Number: ED555835
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 282
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3035-1125-7
Political Power of New Mexico Public School Superintendents: A Qualitative Exploratory Study
Romero, Arsenio
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, New Mexico State University
The purpose of this study is to identify how superintendents use political power, examine the characteristics used by superintendents to function politically, and to define the hidden knowledge of managing politically charged situations. Based on this informative literature and conducted research, I answered the following research questions: 1. How do New Mexico superintendents define political power? 2. What are the political power struggles that are a part of the superintendent's job? 3. What are the characteristics of these situations that make them political? 4. What strategies are most useful when managing political conflicts? 5. What are the outcomes of managed political conflicts? Rational choice theory was used to identify the characteristics employed by superintendents to function politically and to help define the hidden knowledge of managing political power conflicts successfully. The study used focus groups and individual interviews. The sample population was 8 New Mexico superintendents chosen by peers through a snowball technique. The findings revealed: (a) Superintendents encounter many politically charged situations in the job role; (b) Extreme or polarized positions are characteristics of politically charged situations; (c) Effective strategies to manage political conflict include listening and making the other person/group feel heard, building relationships and committee processes; and (d) Outcomes of successfully managed political conflict include the cessation of complaints, and resolutions consistent with personal and organizational values. A politically powerful superintendent must have a wide variety of strategies to employ in managing a political conflict. The key issue to success is in matching the appropriate strategy to the specifics of the conflict. Politically powerful superintendents must have the ability to build relationships and utilize interpersonal skills. Building relationships through advisory committees, regularly scheduled meetings with community decision makers, and high levels of community visibility are proactive strategies superintendents can employ. Also, using interpersonal skills such as listening, asking questions, and making the other party feel as if their concerns have been heard were all strategies that were indicated as effective. Recommendations include an expansion of this study to include all superintendents in New Mexico and further expand the knowledge base regarding political conflict. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Mexico