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ERIC Number: ED527083
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 309
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1240-9785-5
School District Cabinet Member Task and Relationship Conflict Behavior during Budget Development in a State Fiscal Crisis
Nickerson, John
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of La Verne
Purpose. The first purpose of this study was to determine to what extent task and relationship conflict occurred in school district cabinets during budget development in a state budget crisis. The second purpose was to determine which cabinet member task and relationship conflict behaviors were demonstrated during budget development in a state budget crisis. Methodology. An expert panel selected twelve school districts based on behaviors indicative of effective teamwork and successful conflict and budget management. A mixed-methods approach was used to obtain quantitative and qualitative data. Eighty-one cabinet member interviews and seventy-eight questionnaires comprised the data set. Questionnaire data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Interviews and open-ended questionnaire data were analyzed using qualitative methods. Findings. Data analysis confirmed that sample district cabinets demonstrated productive conflict behaviors during the 2008-2009 budget development cycle. Cabinet members frequently demonstrated specific behaviors that led to intragroup trust, focus on district superordinate goals, group meeting norms, positive encouragement, and acknowledgement of productive task conflict. Additional findings suggest: (1) humor and cabinet membership longevity were an interpersonal dynamic that contributed to productive conflict behaviors, and (2) cabinets maintained an environment of participant equity and access during budget problem solving. Conclusions. District cabinet members who exhibit strong intragroup trust, focus on district superordinate goals, follow established conflict norms, and encourage discussion of conflicting budget solution alternatives are more likely to demonstrate moderate levels of productive task conflict and low levels of detrimental relationship conflict during their budget development process. Implications for Action. Given the educational challenges and the anticipated resource scarcity facing California public schools, district cabinets need to develop innovative and strategic budget solution alternatives. Productive task conflict will help facilitate better financial decisions. To encourage productive task conflict, it is suggested that cabinet members: (1) engage in activities which build intragroup trust; (2) use district superordinate goals to guide the budget development process; (3) implement and practice group norms that encourage productive conflict; (4) overtly encourage debate about budget solution alternatives; (5) positively acknowledge dissenting opinions; (6) provide agenda and relevant data prior to cabinet meetings; and (7) use meeting facilitation skills and structuring devices to promote opportunities to exchange ideas. [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