PRINCIPAL COMMUNICATION PROCESSES AND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS' DECISION RESPONSES TO IDIOGRAPHIC AND NOMOTHETIC MESSAGES

ELEANOR S SZEMBORSKI, Fordham University

Abstract

The major purpose of this study was to compare the responses of task-oriented and relationship-oriented elementary school teachers to the communication processes of elementary school principals, and to determine the degree to which teachers accepted or rejected principals' institutional (nomothetic) and personal (idiographic) messages.^ The sample population for this study included 134 volunteer elementary school teachers enrolled in graduate education courses at The William Paterson College of New Jersey, and attending classes during the weeks of July 23 and July 30, 1979. Of the 134 participating teachers, 123 (92 percent) returned useable responses.^ The major materials used to collect data for this study were the Least Preferred Coworker (LPC), and Communication and Decision Responses for Idiographic and Nomothetic Expectations (CADRINE).^ The statistical techniques employed in the analysis of the study included the tabulation of distributions, the analysis of variance, the Pearson product-moment correlation, Chi Square and the point biserial correlation. The minimum level of statistical significance accepted in this study was .05.^ The major findings and conclusions of the study were: (1) Both task-oriented and relationship-oriented teachers showed a high degree of awareness to verbal-nonverbal interaction. Of the two formal types of communication, verbal messages were preferred. It was concluded that interaction was the most effective means of communicating, however, when formal communication processes were used, it was concluded that principals' power of control could be increased or decreased with the use of carefully worded messages. (2) Task-oriented and relationship-oriented teachers complied with a high degree of involvement to nomothetic expectations. It was concluded that such expectations fell within a zone of indifference which teachers accepted as a necessary part of the role description. Nomothetic messages did not threaten the stability of the lines of authority and communication. (3) Both groups complied with a high degree of caution to idiographic expectations, more particularly to those affecting professional relationships. It was concluded that increasing the number of idiographic messages would weaken administrative control. Limiting the number of idiographic messages to those that were absolutely essential to the improvement of the learning-teaching process, and carefully selecting the semantic presentation would increase principals' power of authority. (4) Middle range teachers showed a higher degree of conflict than task-oriented or relationship-oriented teachers particularly in the area of professional relationships. It was concluded that there was some possibility that middle range teachers were in a stage of transition, and recommended that further studies be conducted to verify this hypothesis. (5) There were no significant differences between task-oriented and relationship-oriented teachers. It was concluded that the same evaluation forms could be used effectively for either group. However, because of the significant relationship between communication and decisional responses, it was concluded that administrators should develop an awareness to the degrees of conflict built into evaluative criteria and the effects of such expectations upon desired behavior. ^

Subject Area

Educational administration

Recommended Citation

SZEMBORSKI, ELEANOR S, "PRINCIPAL COMMUNICATION PROCESSES AND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS' DECISION RESPONSES TO IDIOGRAPHIC AND NOMOTHETIC MESSAGES" (1981). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8109071.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8109071

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