Date of Award

Fall 2018


© 2018 Kevin Frank Yoshihara

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Brianna Parsons

Second Advisor

Joel Lowsky

Third Advisor

Clay Bradley


Staff morale and professional satisfaction may have a profound effect on staff retention in international schools. Current literature concerning teacher staff morale and job satisfaction has considered the topic from the perspective of teachers working in their home countries. Expatriate international school teachers live and work in foreign countries, often away from their families and relatives, and little research on this experience could be located. The purpose of this interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) study was to determine the factors that contribute to staff morale and influence teacher job satisfaction within international schools. As the economic and intangible costs of a high staff turnover can cause strain on schools, determining the factors that lead to high staff morale and job satisfaction in international education might produce a positive impact on international schools. Four superordinate themes emerged as a result of the analysis. These superordinate themes revealed that expatriate international school teachers feel that positive interactions with school leaders, inequalities in salary and benefits, a supportive school climate, and integration into the host community all have an impact on staff morale. The development of trusting relationships and feeling appreciated and valued were indicated to have a positive effect on morale, while inequalities in salary and benefits had a negative effect. This study confirmed that expatriate international school teachers’ reliance on their schools included not only employment, but socialization and the satisfaction of basic needs. By identifying the factors that affect staff morale within international schools, the findings from this study may contribute to the existing body of knowledge regarding staff morale and teacher job satisfaction. Examining the lived experience of expatriate international school teachers, and exploring the factors they felt affect staff morale and job satisfaction will allow international school administrators to develop plans to address morale and job satisfaction issues within their schools.


Ed.D. Dissertation