The issue of school improvement is complex, and although reform initiatives have emanated from positive intentions for schools, many have been detrimental to school culture. Collaborative school culture has been cited as an essential element of school improvement; thus, a need exists to better understand how principals perceive and shape collaborative school cultures. This study examined leadership approaches and workplace conditions critical to the development of collaborative school cultures. The importance of the principal’s role in shaping collaborative culture is often noted in the literature. Using a sequential mixed methods explanatory research approach, the study consisted of two phases that employed quantitative and qualitative measures. Massachusetts’ principals (1,773) were contacted by email to participate in an on-line survey, with 261 principals completing the survey, resulting in a response rate of 15%. Ten telephone interviews were conducted after survey results were analyzed. The data analysis generated six key findings. Finding #1 showed eight school level factors that contributed to collaborative culture. School level factors included involving teachers in decision-making and providing opportunities to share ideas through dialogue and planning. Finding #2 articulated principals’ desire to effect change; it emerged because of principals’ perceptions of collaborative culture in their schools. Finding #3 identified six leadership indicators that have a strong influence on collaborative culture. Indicators ranged from valuing teachers’ ideas to protecting planning and instructional time. Finding #4 validated the importance of school specific personal leadership qualities and practices. The leadership qualities principals reported most often were empathy and vulnerability, and leadership practices include setting expectations, building relationships, and empowering teachers. Finding #5 established teams, time, and professional development were three organizational factors that contributed to collaborative culture, while Finding #6 identified teacher resistance as an inhibitor to collaborative culture. Overall, these findings demonstrate principals’ perceptions led to specific practices they believe foster collaborative culture. Recommendations are delineated for principals and higher education institutions. Future research recommendations suggest further study of principals’ self-awareness, leadership practices, and focus on specific subgroups in relation to collaborative culture.
|Advisor:||Ciesluk, John H.|
|Commitee:||Conley, Judith, Maruszczak, Joseph|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Massachusetts|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Collaborative school culture, Personal qualities, Principals' perceptions, School improvement, School leadership practices, Teachers' workplace conditions|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be