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ERIC Number: ED520401
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 129
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1241-6838-8
Perceptions of School Conflict by Nebraska Superintendents
DeTurk, Theodore J.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of South Dakota
Conflict is a natural and pervasive, but often misunderstood, force that thrives in all human societies. Conflict is an inherent part of the school environment because of the labor-intensive nature of the school setting. As district leaders, school superintendents are surrounded daily by diverse groups of people who have their own needs and agendas. People are required to work in close physical proximity on common goals. Conflicts among groups within the school can undermine these goals. It is the administrator's job to resolve or mediate conflicts as they develop. Moreover, how administrators mediate conflicts and lead the district may define how successful that particular district becomes. This quantitative research project examined and compared the perceptions of Nebraska superintendents regarding their preferences for conflict management styles and their self-assessment of their ability to manage conflict. The study analyzed the superintendents' perceptions based on the demographic characteristics of age, gender, and years of experience. Additionally, the study reported superintendents' most frequent sources of conflict in the school environment as well as exploring the social issues which arise and require a superintendent's attention. The results of this study suggested that superintendents do not see one particular group of school personnel as the catalyst for conflict. Further, regarding the frequency of societal conflicts such as gender issues, social class issues, race issues, religious issues, and community politics, the participating superintendents rated none of the issues as significantly disturbing. This study explored conflict resolution from a style perspective and a satisfaction perspective. Most of the participants viewed themselves as fairly satisfied with their conflict resolution experience. Of the styles included on the survey: (1) compromise, (2) avoidance, (3) collaboration, (4) competition, and (5) accommodating, all were found to be utilized. However, regarding experience, a significant difference was determined in that less experienced superintendents collaborate with a peer more than experienced superintendents. It was the older, more experienced males that identified themselves as most satisfied with their conflict resolution experience. [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: Nebraska