Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler School of Education


Marcia O'Neil

Committee Member

Susanne Flannelly


communication, nonverbal communication, organizational communication, verbal communication


This applied dissertation provides an overview of the working relationships among key leaders within a large urban school district in the Southeastern part of the United States. This study examined the communication methods and responsibilities of each key player within the decision-making process for the district at various levels of leadership. Results called for the exploration of (a) effective communication, (b) verbal and nonverbal techniques, (c) electronic means of communication, (d) informal styles of communication, (e) interpersonal communication, (f) communication styles, (g) leadership styles, and (h) conflict management, which delineated the theoretical framework and research questions for this study. This study presents verbatim quotes that supported the data findings. Twenty-three stakeholders (school board members, school leaders, parents, business leaders, and community leaders) from the district were interviewed. The results revealed 10 themes related to the need for a transparent, honest, and collaborative working relationship. The findings revealed the need for an addendum to the Critical Communication theory, which analyzed the interworkings among individuals within organizations. The addendum supports the premise that positive working relationships are due to effective forms or modes of communication. Stakeholders preferred in-person communication to combat conflict within the organization among members within the district. Stakeholders also noted a need for leaders of the organization who are democratic, transformational, and nonbiased. Stakeholders continuously addressed the need for immediate and accessible forms of communication within the district to build positive working relationships.

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