Download the full-sized PDF of Decision Making and the SuperintendencyDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

Decision Making and the Superintendency Open Access


Other title
education administration
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Hetherington, Randy W
Supervisor and department
Dr. Rosemary Foster (Educational Policy Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Olenka Bilash (Secondary Education)
Dr. Jim Brandon (External - University of Calgary)
Dr. Frank Peters (Educational Policy Studies)
Dr. Paul Newton (Educational Policy Studies)
Dr. Heather Kanuka (Educational Policy Studies)
Department of Educational Policy Studies
Educational Administration and Leadership
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Education
Degree level
Abstract Public education in Alberta is undergoing substantive change and there is renewed interest in how school superintendents make decisions. My inquiry came from a practitioner’s perspective looking into superintendent’s decision-making processes. Eight serving school superintendents were interviewed to determine the influences on their decision-making around governance, human resource and accountability issues. I sought insights to inform superintendent practice in the province and uncover further questions for study. The research question used to identify the expectations, influences and understandings of public school superintendents regarding decision-making within their respective school jurisdictions was: What factors impact decisions related to jurisdiction governance, human resource management and accountability in the superintendency? A multiple case-study model was utilized to review responses from the purposive sample. The sample was balanced for gender and geographic and demographic diversity. Transcripts, government documents and research journals were utilized in the analysis as understandings were revealed and explanations built in response to the research question. The effect of time, role identification, relationship building, capacity building, and community expectations were identified as common factors affecting the decisions of school superintendents. Roles and responsibilities within school jurisdictions and whether an authoritative or participative approach to decision-making was utilized varied across genders and jurisdiction size and location. Perceived self-efficacy of superintendents in their role and perceived organizational efficacy of school jurisdictions in the public education system emerged as influences on the process. Superintendents indicated a clear preference for processes rendering decisions from understanding rather than decisions designed to compel understanding. Responses from superintendents in this study indicated they valued a collaborative approach to decision-making and a desire to transform decision-making from a process focused on individual roles and responsibilities to one supporting broader stakeholder values. Participants sought decisions that ultimately met the academic, social and emotional needs of the students. Changes to the landscape of public education in Alberta created by a new Education Act (2012) and the evolving expectations of society will require superintendents to make critical decisions in the months to come. The findings of this study support them in that work.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 1427467
Last modified: 2016:09:01 15:57:31-06:00
Filename: Hetherington_Randy Wayne_Winter 2014.pdf
Original checksum: 1b3b2a948856d86d3efa9c6469139f8a
Well formed: true
Valid: true
File author: Randy Hetherington
Page count: 192
File language: en-CA
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date