This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Prevalence of Complexity Leadership (CL) Traits Among Principals in Alabama Torchbearer Schools in Successfully Implementing and Achieving No Child Left Behind Mandates




Levens, Dara

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Political Science


The purpose of this study is to determine the prevalence of the leadership behavior known as Complexity Leadership (CL) style among the principals of Alabama Torchbearer Schools that were successful in implementing and meeting the mandates of NCLB. The concept imposed by CL is concerned less with the effects of hierarchical control in operational leadership as with how interaction in networks can lead to new patterns of behavior or innovative models of operation and information (Brown, 2011; Heifetz, 1994; Plowman et al., 2007; Uhl-Bien, Marion, & McKelvey, 2007). While traditional literature cites transformational leadership as being effective in producing system-wide change, recent conceptions from complexity leadership suggest a combination of traditional leadership traits employed across networks (CL) may be more common. The research question proposed in this study is: “How prevalent was the CL style of leadership among principals of Torchbearer Schools who were successful in implementing and achieving NCLB mandates?” The hypothesis for this study contends that the patterns of leadership behavior proposed by CL were more prevalent in the leadership behavior of more Torchbearer Principals than in the leadership patterns of non-Torchbearer Principals. The research methodology for this study is quantitative, using Paired Sample t-Test analysis to determine the prevalence of CL leadership behavior of Torchbearer principals compared to nonTorchbearer principals. The participants are eight principals who presided over Alabama’s Torchbearer schools and eight principals who presided over public schools that were not Torchbearer schools but located in the same school districts as the Torchbearer schools. An Auburn Qualtrics online questionnaire was used for collecting data. Findings suggest that although several significant difference in patterns of leadership behavior were found, the CL leadership style was not found to be more prevalent among Torchbearer principals. More research into the effectiveness of the CL leadership style in the educational leadership is suggested.