Job satisfaction and work motivation of Connecticut school superintendents

Date of Completion

January 1998


Education, Administration|Education, Educational Psychology




The purpose of the study was to determine the extent to which the job characteristics theory of Hackman and Oldham was able to explain the work lives of Connecticut public school superintendents.^ Superintendent survey instruments and selective interviewing of superintendents and board chairs were employed. Quantitative approaches were used in measuring the impact of core factors on experienced psychological states and on general satisfaction, internal work motivation, and the degree to which the superintendent's job provides opportunities for learning and for personal growth and development. The moderating impact of growth needs and of context satisfactions like pay and security were also examined quantitatively. The data were compared with those of upper level managers in the private sector. Population age was reviewed, and qualitative perceptions were obtained. 77% of the public school superintendents in Connecticut participated.^ It was found that superintendents' jobs are less well defined than those of upper level executives generally and that most receive less performance feedback than their business counterparts. Job insecurity is a serious distraction for the superintendents. Half of the turnover of Connecticut superintendents is due to age. Adequate numbers of qualified replacements are available.^ Study results suggest the need to develop and use superintendent job competencies, to conduct regular planning and performance reviews, to stagger board terms, and to provide greater autonomy in the superintendent's job. Further research is recommended in superintendent survey administration, systems analysis of school district operations, correlations between job satisfaction and performance effectiveness, the use of town managers and business boards as referent groups, the administrative and educational implications of district regionalization, and the experience of charter schools in both governance and administration. ^