Date of Award

Summer 1991

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

William G. Cunningham

Committee Member

Stephen W. Tonelson

Committee Member

Robert MacDonald

Committee Member

Robert Lucking

Committee Member

Donald Myers


The purpose of this study was to identify disparities between perceptions of the public school personnel director's role by both personnel directors and superintendents. The study was limited to personnel directors and superintendents employed by urban school divisions in Virginia. The study sought to identify (1) disparities between perceptions by personnel directors of their ideal role versus their actual role, (2) disparities between perceptions of personnel directors and superintendents of the personnel director's actual role, and (3) disparities between perceptions by public school division superintendents of the personnel directors ideal role versus the actual role.

A role analysis questionnaire was developed from current literature describing functions of personnel directors in both public and private sectors. Validity and reliability were tested through a pilot study of urban school divisions in Georgia. The questionnaire was revised and mailed to superintendents and personnel directors of each of the twenty-nine urban school divisions in Virginia. Twenty-two usable returns were received from each group representing a usable return rate of 75.9 percent.

Analysis of variance (ANOVA) techniques were utilized to examine the responses. Scheffe post-hoc tests were employed to make mean comparisons when significant F ratios were achieved.

The analysis indicated a significant difference between the ideal role conception and actual role experience of personnel directors, as perceived by both personnel directors and superintendents. Both groups perceived that personnel directors' ideal roles held more responsibilities than their actual roles in analyzing jobs and positions, training employees, providing staff development activities, solving problems, establishing quality of life programs, implementing odd-hour scheduling of employees, allowing employees to work at home, and helping administrators.

Personnel directors perceived greater responsibilities in their actual roles regarding training, staff developments, job/position analysis, and disciplinary procedures than did superintendents.

The findings suggest that standard guidelines for school personnel administrators would alleviate some of the role conflict and role ambiguity experienced by school personnel administrators.