The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate superintendents' trust-building characteristics and behaviors as perceived by principals and to determine the relationship between these perceptions and principals' job satisfaction and willingness to take risks. To this end, the researcher developed and piloted a 38-item questionnaire to assess levels of trust, using the facets of benevolence, competence, honesty, openness, and reliability. The questionnaire, which was determined to be a valid and reliable means of measuring trust, was distributed to over 400 principals in a Southern California county, of whom 222 responded, resulting in a 54% response rate.
Four conclusions, based on the findings, were determined. First, principals held positive perceptions of their superintendents' trust-building characteristics and behaviors. Second, principals' perceptions of superintendents' benevolence and openness were relatively less positive than were their perceptions of competence, honesty, and reliability. Third, principals' level of trust in their superintendents was predictive of principals' job satisfaction, and, fourth, their willingness to take risks.
This study presented several implications for practitioners and researchers. This study confirms previous research connecting trust to job satisfaction and risk taking. Higher levels of risk taking are important to nurturing innovation, reform, and positive changes that may ultimately have an impact on student achievement. Further, the study indicated that specific observable characteristics and behaviors within the facets of benevolence, competence, honesty, openness, and reliability are positively connected to building trust. Awareness of these characteristics and behaviors can assist leaders as they endeavor to build trust within their own relationships.
This dissertation was one of only a few studies that has examined trust in the highest levels of educational leadership. Broadening this research to focus on the reciprocal nature of trust between principals and superintendents as well as to examine trust relationships of school boards and superintendents, parents and superintendents, and parents and school boards also may be helpful in developing our understanding of trust in educational leadership.
|School:||California State University, Fullerton|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, School administration|
|Keywords:||Principal, Superintendent, Trust|
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