An Investigation of the Modes of Conflict Utilized by Large School Principals



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This was a study of the investigation of the modes of conflict utilized by large school principals when dealing with principal-teacher conflict. The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between the principal’s sex, years of administrative experience, years on current campus, and years of educational experience have on the mode of conflict resolution utilized when dealing with principal-teacher conflict. The modes of conflict explored in this study were the following: avoiding, competing, accommodating, compromising, and collaborative modes. The participants of this study included 39 large school secondary principals employed in Texas during the 2013-2014 school year. The modes of conflict were measured by the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI). The data from the TKI were analyzed using descriptive statistics, independent samples t-test, and the Pearson Product Moment Correlation (r). The results of the analysis indicated a strong, statistically significant mean relationship between the sex of the participant and the collaborating mode of conflict. This finding indicated females tend to utilize the preferred mode of conflict. In addition, a statistically significant negative relationship existed between the principal’s years on their campus and the use of the competitive mode of conflict. Thus as the number of years the principal remains on their current campus, the less likely they were to utilize the competitive mode of conflict when dealing with principal-teacher conflict. No significant relationships were found in the principal’s years of education and administration and their use of the modes of conflict when dealing with principal/teacher conflict. The results of this study will help educational leaders gain a better understanding of how conflict can be utilized to bring about change in education. In addition, it provided research to support the need to include conflict resolution training to principal preparation programs in order to retain highly qualified leaders and reduce burnout due to unmanaged conflict. The results of the study also added to current research that males and females approach conflict differently. Ultimately, this study brought an awareness that conflict is not necessarily bad for an organization, and has the potential to help a school make the necessary leaps to achieve academic success.