Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Barbara Cozza

Second Advisor

Erin Fahle

Third Advisor

Rosalba DelVecchio


There has been increasing recognition among researchers and practitioners that the demands of the principalship have become unsustainable. School districts play a pivotal role in supporting school leaders in the execution of their responsibilities. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to further uncover how school district bureaucracies enable and hinder the work of principals. In the quantitative phase of the study the researcher analyzed survey responses from 244 New York State principals to determine the extent to which district structures were perceived as hindering or enabling their work. In the qualitative phase, the researcher interviewed two principals, one who described their district as enabling and one who described their district as hindering. The researcher analyzed interview transcripts using two cycles of coding to first identify hindering and enabling structures of the district bureaucracy, and then examine how the identified behaviors, rules, and structures hindered or enabled the work of school leaders. The perceptions by principals of enabling and hindering behaviors, rules, and structures were the basis for creating prototypes of enabling and hindering district practices.