Jerry WrightFollow




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Judy Shoemaker


Distributive Leadership, Teacher Autonomy, Teacher Leadership, Teacher Morale, Teacher-Powered School


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to examine teachers’ perceived autonomy in two different school settings. The theory that guided this study was Bandura’s social-cognitive theory, specifically focusing on the three aspects of human agency. The research question was used to investigate the similarities and differences of teachers’ perceptions of autonomy in two schools one traditionally structured and the other teacher-powered. Thirteen participants from two separate settings, one teacher-powered school and one traditionally structured school were selected for this study. Participants were selected using criterion-sampling methods to ensure that all participants were teachers within their setting. Teacher-powered schools was defined as schools with a leadership structure driven by teacher leaders while traditionally structured schools were defined as schools with a principal-driven organizational structure. Data collection was triangulated using participant interviews, site observations, and document analysis. Data for this study were organized based on site and participants’ responses. Categorical aggregation was utilized to help identify common themes across multiple sources. Based on the data collected, it was determined that teachers in teacher-powered schools reported having a higher level of autonomy over curriculum decisions and instructional strategies than those in traditionally structured schools.