A case study of the leadership role of principals in the commitment to quality project in Virginia, United States of America

Sharon Lynne BRYANT

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The purpose of this research was to describe and analyze the leadership role of the principal in the implementation of the seven components of the Commitment to Quality Project as defined by the Virginia Department of Education, based on the Xerox Leadership Through Quality model, in Virginia with specific school building sites. The project was designed to restructure the management of school to be more adaptive to a changing society. The seven components used were: Customer Focus, Total Participation, Mission, Measuring and Monitoring Processes, Leadership, Communication, and Commitment to Continuous Process Improvement. Based of the components, a telephone survey and in-depth interview guide were developed. Both instruments were reviewed by a team of Quality and methodological experts. The survey was conducted with all 16 Project principals to establish implementation levels. The interviews were conducted on site with four Fully Implementation Principals and four Partially Implementing Principals. The investigator employed a case study design. The study is a qualitative multi-site study of principals in Project schools. The emergent case-study design allowed the researcher to specifically explore the variations in the principals' leadership role. Results suggest that the implementation of Quality components had a beneficial effect on participants as they restructure their schools. All principals experienced a shift in their leadership roles toward increasing their levels of personal leadership power. As educators Fully Implementing Principals are 1) moving toward applying Quality technologies in education; 2) focusing on issues related to improving all aspects of the education system; 3) development leadership skills in all personnel; 4) planning more strategically for curriculum development; 5) looking at students to be more responsible and accountable for their education; 6) focusing on parents and community members as critical stakeholders in education; and 7) moving away from the traditional model of educational leadership into a newer Quality model. As a result Fully Implementing Principals are shifting toward the Quality model presented in the Commitment to Quality Project. They are 1) becoming grounded on a commitment to meeting customer requirements; 2) doing things right the first time; 3) empowering employees at all organizational levels; 4) problem-solving with stakeholder teams; 5) basing decisions on relevant data; and 6) adopting a continuous process improvement philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996


curriculum development
education system


Bryant, S. L. (1996, November). A case study of the leadership role of principals in the commitment to quality project in Virginia, United States of America. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association (HKERA) 13th Annual Conference: Restructuring Schools in Changing Societies, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.