A study of the relationship between a participatory management model and selected variables

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The purpose of this study was to explore the participatory management system used by the Tulsa Public Schools in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Due to the size of the system and interest of the researcher, the middle schools were chosen as the units for investigation. A total of 535 (82%) of the teachers in the 17 middle schools responded to the survey. The major variables investigated were participatory management, job satisfaction, job-related tension, intention-to-leave the school or the profession, absenteeism, sex, and years of experience. Additional observations were made which were used as supporting qualitative data.

The data were analyzed by using several statistical procedures: mean scores, analysis of variance, Pearson product-moment correlations, and t-tests. The findings not only confirmed participatory management to be the perceived mode of middle school governance in this system but determined that this management style was related to the majority of variables in the study.

When the variables were analyzed separately, it was found that, in general, teachers were satisfied with their job, rarely felt tension related to their job, infrequently considered leaving their school or the profession, and maintained a high attendance rate. When these variables were examined in conjunction with participatory management, the variables of teacher job satisfaction and job-related tension were found to be correlated positively with teachers' perceptions of shared governance. In addition, teacher intent to leave and teacher absenteeism were lower when greater participation in the school's management was perceived. However, the sex of the teacher and the years of experience had no relationship with teachers perceived degree of involvement in the decision-making process.

It can be concluded that participatory management practices may enhance teacher attitudes as noted by the analysis of the variables investigated in this study. Future research is needed to substantiate further these results by comparing the management system used by the Tulsa Public Schools with other educational systems throughout the nation.