Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Educational Policy and Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Helms, Lelia B

Second Advisor

Henkin, Alan B

First Committee Member

Haack, Marcus J

Second Committee Member

Hamot, Gregory E

Third Committee Member

Hollingworth, Liz


Improved understanding of teacher retention depends on systematic research on working conditions, teachers' perceptions of their work environments, and the effect of condition-of-work variables on organizational commitment. The examination of organizational commitment in K-12 teachers is a construct with implications for long-term relationships in complex organizations and a significant predictor of retention.

This study examined the extent to which empowerment, innovation, professionalism, perceived level of interpersonal conflict, and participation were associated with teachers' organizational commitment at six K-12 sites in one Midwestern state. Of 2,732 teachers invited to participate, 1,463 completed the survey, for a total response rate of 54%. Overall, there was substantial evidence supporting a relationship between organizational commitment and empowerment, innovation, and professionalism. There was also some evidence of a contextual relationship between organizational commitment and perceived levels of conflict and participation. Increased conflict in varying relationships resulted in decreased organizational commitment, and increased participation in varying situations resulted in increased organizational commitment.

This study's exploration of organizational commitment may inform administrative practices designed to target teacher attrition. Educational leaders may utilize the results to better understand issues concerning teacher retention and attrition and thereby improve teacher working conditions, and strengthen the educational environment for students.


Empowerment, Innovation, K-12 Teachers, Organizational Commitment, Professionalism


vii, 190 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 172-190).


Copyright 2012 Stephanie Layne Holliman