Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Alyson L. Lavigne


Alyson L. Lavigne


Parker C. Fawson


Jamison D. Fargo


Scott L. Hunsaker


Suzanne H. Jones


Although self-efficacy has been studied widely in education, variables associated with the self-efficacy of principals have received relatively limited attention. The current study investigated the relationship between secondary principals’ perceptions of trust in their assistant principal and central office supervisor and their own self-efficacy for instructional leadership. Surveys were collected from 80 secondary principals. Open-ended questions were utilized to gain greater understanding of the behaviors contributing to principals’ perceptions of trust and feelings of self-efficacy. Data were analyzed using correlation and multiple regression. Quantitative results revealed that no statistically significant relationship is present between trust perceptions in the relationships investigated and principals’ self-efficacy for instructional leadership. Analysis of the open-ended responses indicates that behaviors categorized as offer support, dependability, communication, and competence were the most frequently cited by principals as contributing to trust. In reference to behaviors that serve as a source of self-efficacy, principals referenced those categorized as supports my decision making, engage in support behaviors, and verbal persuasion most frequently. Responses including related to instructional leadership were noticeably absent from the open-ended responses. Recognizing the value of trusting relationships and instructional leadership established in existing research, the discussion of this study outlines the necessity to balance efforts for both. Principal perceptions of trust may be a necessary but insufficient condition for principals to experience self-efficacy for instructional leadership. Practical instructional leadership skills are also required. Recommendations are made that principal preparation programs, district leaders, and assistant principals take intentional action to support the development of instructional leadership skills to build principal self-efficacy for instructional leadership.