USMA Research Unit Affiliation

Social Sciences

Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2019

Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Public Administration and Policy


This dissertation focuses on the relationship between the human capital qualities of frontline managers and organizational performance. I draw upon human capital concepts developed in the fields of economics, management, and strategic human resource management (strategic human resources management) to clarify the relationships between human capital and organizational performance for public organizations. I develop a theoretical framework to facilitate a more effective use of human capital concepts for public administration scholars and empirically evaluate several aspects of this framework by assessing the influence of frontline manager human capital on organizational performance.

The organizational setting I use to examine this relationship is New York City (NYC) public schools in grades 3-8 (elementary-middle schools) and grades 9-12 (high schools). I focus on principals as the frontline managers in these organizations and examine the influence of a principal’s human capital on organizational performance using structural equation modeling and random effects regression. The most significant results of the model, both statistically and substantively, are a positive association between a principal’s tenure and internal management skills and school performance. The relationship between tenure and school performance is quadratic, however, with the positive effects of tenure diminishing more quickly for high school principals than elementary/middle school principals. The effects of six principal human capital skills in the model differ by contextual factors such as the type of school, the characteristics of the student body, and the interactive effects of these skills.

USMA Research Goals Supported

Address Important Issues Facing the Army and Nation

First Advisor

J. Edward Kellough

Second Advisor

Gene A. Brewer

Third Advisor

James E. Monogan III


University of Georgia