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Title:Mentoring, Sponsorship and Support Networks: Relationships With Significant Others in the Career Advancement of Successful Illinois Public School Administrators
Author(s):Robinson, Dorothy Jones
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Administration
Abstract:This study utilized research done previously in the fields of psychology, sociology and business to establish a framework for investigating the relationships with significant others that have contributed to the career advancement of successful public school administrators. Because there were so few women in top school administration positions, and the number declining in the State of Illinois, special attention was given to the differences by the sex of the administrators.
The goal of this research was to provide stimulation for further research, rather than to confirm existing hypotheses. Therefore, the study used developmental methods, modifying the procedures as new information changed the perspective. Initial interviews with six female superintendents were followed by two pilot forms of the survey. The final survey form was mailed to thirty-seven female and thirty-seven matched male assistant superintendents, or superintendents in the State of Illinois. All scores were tabulated, ranked, and, in some cases, averaged, with all differences reported and discussed. Special note was made of a few differences that were determined to be statistically significant at or below the .10 level, using a t test. Since the sample was small and requirements for randomization not always possible to meet, extreme caution is advised in attempting any broad generalizations based on the results of this study.
In many respects, it was found that the framework taken mostly from other fields, especially business, provided a useful tool for examining the relationships of school administrators. Both the business executive and the school administrator had multiple mentors or sponsors in a comparable superior position in the organization, with similar kinds of help given and received. Differences in help included less advocacy during controversy for school administrators. The framework lost some of its usefulness when comparing support networks and mobility patterns, perhaps because of the smaller size and different nature of school organizations. Although school administrators' membership in organizations was high, it was not necessarily valued for career advancement. It would also appear that school administrators engaged in fewer of the kinds of activities that are said to be crucial for the advancement of business executives. Business executives were much more mobile (career-bound), with the trend increasing, while school administrators were mostly place-bound, in apparently ever increasing numbers.
Item analysis yielded some differences between male and female respondents, which may help to explain the declining number of female school administrators. In general, women had somewhat greater numbers of others helping them and slightly greater instances of help, particularly in the areas of motivation, encouragement and emotional support. The women in this sample were increasingly mentoring to both their own and the opposite sex, while the men offered substantially less help to women. Women belonged to somewhat fewer organizations, particularly civic and fraternal, which are viewed by some as extremely powerful. They engaged in career advancement activities slightly less than their male colleagues, with significant differences that might indicate a lack of understanding of some aspects of the organizational structure, such as teamwork and channels of communication. There was some evidence that the females valued their significant other relationships less than the males, even as they engaged in them. However, the small number of career-bound females had much higher levels of participation and valuing than career-bound males, and place-bound males and females. Finally, some evidence was provided of problems occurring because of sex-role stereotyping.
Issue Date:1981
Description:153 p.
Thesis (Educat.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8127680
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1981

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