Structural Properties Questionnaire

Bishop, L. K., and George, J. R. (1973). Organizational structure: A factor analysis of structural characteristics of public elementary and secondary schools. Educational Administration Quarterly 9:66–80.

Comments: The 45-item Structural Properties Questionnaire (SPQ) was designed to measure the structural (bureaucratic) characteristics of elementary and secondary schools based on three conceptual areas proposed by Hage—com- plexity, centralization, and formalization. A prerequisite of structure is the need to have policies, programs, standing orders, procedures, and operating instructions that enable organizational members to behave in a prescribed manner. It includes the following factors: faculty involvement in decision-making, the degree of administrative control, the uniform adherence to rules and regulations, the exercise of professional latitude, or restrictions applied to various modes of organizational interactions.

Scale Construction: An original 350-item pool was developed based on the operational definition associated with the three structural properties and appropriate to an educational setting. Through a variety of psychometric procedures, the instrument has undergone four major revisions. It uses a modified four-category Likert response scale.

Sample: The final version (Form Four) of the instrument was based on a sample of 1,367 teachers located in 45 schools including elementary and secondary. The sample included rural, suburban, and urban areas from states in the Midwest and Northeast. The size and regional diversity of the sample further enhances the representatives of the data, and sup- ports the stability of the factor structure and factor scores associated with the instrument.

Reliability: The Cronbach coefficient alpha for the entire scale was 0.94. Individual coefficients for the 12 subscales ranged from 0.74 to 0.85.

Validity: Several panels of judges were used to determine the content validity of the final 45-item instrument. In each case, 100 percent agreement was necessary in order for an item to be retained. A criterion-related validity study was conducted by comparing two school districts (known-groups method)—one considered to be highly structured (bureaucratic), the other significantly less structured. Comparisons of average responses of teachers on all 12 scales indicated the ability of the test to discriminate without exception between the two types of organizational structures (all tests of statistical significance for t-tests of comparisons on all scales were 0.05 or smaller). In the development of the 45-item instrument a number of factor analytic solutions were explored, including principal components, principal axes, and image factoring in conjunction with varimax and oblique rotations. Each solution yielded substantial congruence in the item loadings.

Factor Analysis and Scoring: A 12-factor orthogonal (varimax) principal component analysis was selected for the final solution and for scoring. This factor solution accounted for 57 percent of the common variance. The scoring program used factor score coefficient weighted Z scores, which facilitates comparisons between groups on the various factors. Using a linear coefficient weighted equation (factor loadings are used as weights) to calculate factor scores allows for supressor effects of certain variables to enter into the factor estimation.

Definition of Factors: The 12 factors derived from the analysis can be unambiguously assigned to one of the three structural characteristics proposed by Hage. Centralization (how power is distributed among organizational positions): Participation in Decision-Making I and II and Hierarchy of Authority I and II; Formalization (how rules are used in an organization): Role Specificity and Standardization I, II, and III and Rule Observation-Professional Latitude I & II; Complexity (the degree of professional activity required and supported): Specialization, Professional Activity, and Professional Training.

Data Analysis: Means, standard deviations, and comparative data among the 45 school districts and 1,376 teachers are provided.


Bishop, L. K., et al. (1967). Structural Properties Questionnaire—Form 1. Claremont Graduate School, California. Working paper.

Bishop, L. K., and George, J. R. (1971). Relationship of organizational structure and teacher personality characteristics to organizational climate. Administrative Science Quarterly 16:467–75.

Jackson, J. M. (2007). An examination of the relationship between elementary school principals’ perceptions of shared decision making and three organizational structures. EdD dissertation, Wayne State University.

Murphy, M. J. (1979). Structural characteristics and organizational design decision. Paper presented at American Educational Re- search Association. ERIC ED 170 937.

Murphy, M. J., and Bishop, L. K. (1975). Defining organizational properties of schools: A focus on structure. Paper presented at American Educational Research Association.

Structural Properties Questionnaire

Form 4

  1. Who has the greatest influence in decisions about:
  2. The instructional program?
  3. Teaching methods?
  4. Textbook selection?
  5. Curricular offerings?
  • Teachers
  • Department or Grade Chairmen
  • Consultants or Specialists
  • Administrators
    1. Rarely
    2. Sometimes
    3. Often
    4. Very Frequently

6. Teachers are required to follow suggested instructional sequences and unit plans as closely as possible.

7. Principals in your district must refer most non-routine decisions to someone higher up for the final OK.
8. Rules and regulations concerning teacher behavior are uniformly applied.
9. Days in the school calendar are allotted exclusively to teachers for professional activities.
10. Academic degrees are an important consideration in recruitment of administrative staff.
11. Teachers are required to follow an adopted course of study.
12. Vice principals and department chairmen in your school must refer most nonroutine decisions to someone higher up for a final OK.
13. Teachers’ responsibilities and lines of authority within the school are well-defined.
14. Teaching in your school is a good job for someone who likes to be “his own boss.”
15. Teachers receive help from an instructional media specialist in the use of audiovisual equipment.
16. Teachers make visitations to schools outside of the district.
17. Advanced degrees are an important consideration in promotion.

18. Teachers are evaluated according to a formalized procedure.
19. Even small matters often have to be referred to someone higher up for a final answer.
20. At this school, procedures for disciplining students are well-defined.
21. How things are done is left up to the person doing the work.
22. Teachers attend professional conferences during the school year.
23. Academic degrees are an important consideration in recruitment of instructional staff.
24. Teachers are allowed to teach only those subjects which are included in the course of study.
25. There can be little action taken here until a superior approves decision.
26. Teachers’ activities are governed by written rules and regulations.
27. Most people here make their own rules on the job.
28. Teachers are required to do paper work which could be done by a school office staff.
29. Teachers are allowed to teach outside of their major areas of study.
30. Teachers are required to maintain lesson plans.
31. People here are allowed to do almost as they please.
32. Teachers are allowed to teach outside of their major and minor area of study.
33. Teachers in our school must refer most nonroutine decisions to someone higher up for a final OK.
34. Administrators strictly follow established rules and regulations in dealing with the teaching staff.
35. The principal’s activities are governed by written rules and regulations.
36. A teacher can make his own decisions concerning instructional problems without checking with anybody else.
37. Teachers here teach out of their field of specialization.
38. Any decision I make has to have my superior’s approval.
39. Teachers are required to submit lesson plans.
40. The principal is willing to bypass regulations to help teachers.
41. Teachers are required to go through channels (chain of command) for routine decisions.
42. The principal is willing to bypass regulations to help pupils.
43. Teachers’ daily activities must have the approval of a superior.
44. Teachers in this school are closely supervised.
45. Teachers are allowed to violate minor rules and regulations.
46. Rules requiring teachers to sign in and out are strictly followed.

Scoring: Very frequently = 4; Often = 3; Sometimes = 2; Rarely = 1.