Will Dwyer

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wilkins, Elizabeth A.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Educational leadership; School management and organization; Education


The purpose of this qualitative exploration was to examine the environmental influences impactful to principal self-efficacy and the links between environment and efficacy. Participants for this study were identified from a pool of 125 school principals recognized by the Illinois Interactive Report Card for significantly increasing student achievement between 2011 and 2013. The study focused on six practicing principals in Illinois public k-12 schools and employed one 60-minute interview and three participant journal prompts for each participant. The data from participant interviews and journal prompts were analyzed using grounded theory qualitative methods through the theoretical framework of Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory. Findings from this study indicate that principals have a large amount of control over their own self-efficacy through managing the following environmental influences: Gaining the buy-in of their staff, confronting and overcoming personnel challenges, having non-evaluative peer networks, creating successful school improvement processes, and directly observing student successes. This study also found superintendents/superiors exert a large amount of control over principal self-efficacy through direct verbal support and building consistent and trusting relationships with principals. The recommendations for future research and the field of principal self-efficacy are presented as well.


Advisors: Elizabeth Wilkins.||Committee members: Daryl Dugas; Kelly Summers.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


ix, 205 pages




Northern Illinois University

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