Path analysis is a set of statistical procedures designed to test a hypothesized causal model about the relationships among three or more variables. Using theory and existing knowledge, the researcher proposes a causal model and then applies path analysis to determine if the causal model is consistent with the empirical data. Models inconsistent with the data are rejected, whereas those not rejected are viewed as plausible causal patterns to be subjected to further investigation.
Lunenburg, Lunenburg and Cadavid, Lunenburg and O’Reilly, and Lunenburg and Mankowsky tested a path model of the influences affecting teachers’ job satisfaction. The model used in the four studies hypothesized that job satisfaction is a function of a teachers’ belief systems, locus of control, perceptions of organizational climate, dimensions of school bureaucratization, pupil control orientation and behavior, and several demographic variables including, gender, age, father’s education, mother’s education, teacher’s academic achievement, teaching experience, teacher’s commitment to the teaching profession, and race and ethnicity in the later studies. There were significant relationships between teachers’ job satisfaction and perceptions of teachers’ belief system, locus of control, dimensions of school bureaucratization, organizational climate, and pupil-control orientation and behavior. The researchers concluded that the prototypic profile of the dissatisfied teacher is one who has a closed-minded belief system, an external locus of control, perceives a closed organizational climate, a high level of school bureaucratization, and has both a custodial pupil-control orientation and behavior.