Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Administration

First Advisor

Roger DeMont, Ed.D.


This study investigated perceptions of teachers at select middle schools on the role of teachers in shared decision making and its relationship to customer-focused education. While state legislatures have mandated such involvement, methods for implementation and extent of teacher involvement have been left to administrators in local school districts and at building levels. A nonexperimental descriptive research design, using two previously developed surveys, Customer Focused Education (Pando, 1993) and Shared Decision Making (Pikes, 1992), was used in this study. In addition, a researcher-designed demographic questionnaire was used to collect information on personal and professional characteristics of the teachers. A total of 321 teachers in 10 middle schools in a single area of the Detroit Public Schools was asked to participate in the study by completing a survey packet. Of this number, 113 completed and returned their surveys for a response rate of 35.2%. The major conclusions indicated that teachers in middle schools perceived students should be treated as valued customers. Middle school teachers wanted to be included in the decision making process at the building level. However, if middle school teachers want to be involved in shared decision making to serve the customer focus of their schools, they needed to become proactive in their approaches and actions in their local schools. Shared decision making with a customer focus provides teachers with some control over their work lives. Teachers, who were positive about customer focus in education, were more likely to be involved in making decisions about the curriculum in their schools. Effective communication must be in place for this process to be successful. As it is now, middle school teachers' personal and professional experiences were unrelated to their perception of customer focus education. As it should be middle school teachers wanted to be included in administrative, organizational, curricular, and personnel decisions.