Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Irma Harper

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Jennifer Butcher

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Bruce Scott


The rural school principalship provides unique challenges and great opportunities for conflict and conflict management. However, minimal research exists about the rural principalship or about rural principals’ conflict and conflict management. The purpose of this holistic, multiple case study was to examine rural principals’ perceptions and experiences with conflict and conflict management. Cases had to meet the criteria of the formal rural definition, and participants had to be the sole leader of their campuses. Each of the participants completed a questionnaire, an initial interview, and a follow-up interview. Data collection and analysis revealed the discord experienced by these principals based on the three main areas of conflict: intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational conflict. Further findings revealed perceptions of conflict management and their approaches to the various types of conflict encountered on a daily basis. These perceptions included mitigating conflict when possible and providing a system to work through conflict through conversations when necessary. Finally, participants revealed a sense of returning to equilibrium through self-care, a sense of self, and a sense of humility when navigating their principalships and the conflicts that arise within their principalships. The findings of this study provided information about the processes and abilities of the rural principal to navigate the various types of conflict. The findings of this study also revealed that these principals exhibited a significant amount of internal strife as well as a great deal of humility, which allowed them to ease at least some of their dissonance.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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