Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Jason J. Campbell

Second Advisor

Robin Cooper

Third Advisor

Judith McKay


emotional intelligence, resolution models, retaliation, revenge


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the lived experiences and perceptions of principals in elementary schools regarding conflicts with teachers. In addition, this dissertation focused on four social science theories to analyze the findings of this study including: systems, social constructionism, symbolic interactionism, and functionalism. Through this five chapter dissertation, the researcher examined the lived experiences and elementary principals’ perceptions and 1) explored the root causes of conflicts among teachers and principals, 2) determined the challenges these principals face with teachers, 3) gathered reasons why the phenomenon has been overlooked, 4) examined the power of negative emotions within the conflict process among principals and teachers, and 5) analyzed conflict resolution approaches used by principals when addressing teacher conflicts. From the study, five major themes were identified. In addition, three objectives governed this study. The first objective was to provide an understanding of the lived experiences of conflicts among principals and teachers from a principal’s perspective. The second objective was to explore perceptions of principals about the impacts of conflicts between principals and teachers on students. The third objective was to gain knowledge that will contribute to more effective ways to address conflicts between principals and teachers. This study concluded with providing both theoretical and methodological implications for future research studies along with recommendations for principals on ways to manage conflict with teachers.