Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Ginny Birky, PhD

Second Advisor

Dane Joseph, PhD

Third Advisor

Susanna Thornhill, PhD


This quantitative study investigated perceptions of compensation fairness among local-hire teachers at international schools who worked in a split labor market. Under this model, localhire teachers perform the same basic job duties as their foreign-hire colleagues, yet receive far less compensation. The study employed survey research to examine potential relationships between such variables as: perceived compensation differentials, perception of foreign-hire contributions, teachers’ dependents attending the school on scholarship, perception of systems of communication and promotion, perception of compensation fairness, and willingness to support and collaborate with foreign hire teachers. 86 local-hire teachers from 7 international schools responded to online questions at a response rate of 61.4%. The data-collection instrument was modified from a similar study conducted by Bonache, Sanchez, and Zárraga-Oberty (2009) in a multi-national business setting. Analysis revealed local-hire teachers’ perceptions of compensation fairness to be significantly correlated (p < 0.05) to two variables: (a) the perceived professional contributions of foreign-hire teachers at the same school (r = .358), and (b) localhire teachers’ perceived difference between personal compensation and compensation of localhire teachers at other international schools (r = -.363). These same two variables also significantly contributed to the multiple regression model created by this study to predict localhire teachers’ perceptions of compensation fairness (R = .620, R2 = .385). All results were analyzed in the context of Social Equity and Referent Selection Theory, meaning perceptions of compensation fairness may change based upon the local-hire teachers’ choice of a social referent. Four additional independent variables were rejected as insignificant to the model. Unlike similar studies conducted in the business sector, no evidence was found to support the hypothesis that there was a positive correlation between local-hire teachers’ perceived compensation fairness and their willingness to assist and collaborate with foreign-hire teachers. These findings shed light on a minimally studied issue related to social justice in international schools. The author recommends international school administrators be aware of the local job market for local-hire teachers, monitor the contributions of foreign-hire teachers, and increase efforts at communication with local-hire teachers.