Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel U. Levine


An important element of success in any managerial position rests in an ability to positively influence superiors. Nowhere in schooling is the need to be able to influence superiors more apparent than in the high school assistant principalship. Despite the similarity in titles, assistant principals are not principals. Their positions do not carry the authority of the principalship, and they-even more than a classroom teacher- are directly dependent upon the principal for job assignments, direction, permission, and support. Success in the assistant principalship requires a positive and mutually influential relationship with the principal. The nature of their work drives assistant principals to practice upward influence. The purpose of this survey study was to (a) identify influence practices employed by high school assistant principals; (b) to assess what impact, if any, gender may have upon tactic selection; (c) to assess what impact, if any, age has upon tactic selection; (d) to assess what impact, if any, the number of assistant principals in a building has upon tactic selection; (e) to assess what impact, if any, experience level has upon tactic selection. An assistant principal’s ability to successfully fulfill the responsibilities of his or her job is, at least in part, tied to the communication line to the principal. This study allows APs to know which upward influence tactics are available and utilized. Performance appraisals may well be tied to an AP’s ability to influence the principal. The perception of whether or not the AP has good communication skills may even be tied to persuasive prowess. This study provides additional knowledge regarding the high school assistant principalship and the work behaviors of those who hold the position. The findings may have implications for pre-service and in-service training for administrators.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 1999 Brian L. Maher.

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