Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

How School Principals Use Twitter to Support Leadership Practices: A Mixed Methods Design
by Lynch, Jennifer Mohler, Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, 2018, 192; 10976145
Abstract (Summary)

In the past ten years, Internet-based communication mediums have eclipsed print and television media. Digital communications allow for information to be shared rapidly, in real-time, and with little mediation. The pervasive integration of digital platforms has changed the values, norms, and expectations of today’s society. This has profound implications for how school leaders interact with all stakeholders.

School leaders are charged with executing three main roles: setting directions, developing organizations, and developing people (Leithwood & Riehl, 2003). Communication serves as a critical element that supports the effective execution of these roles. In a predominantly digital society, leaders may benefit from the integration of digital platforms to create a comprehensive communication profile. Despite a robust body of literature on leadership practices, there is little research on how K-12 school principals are using digital communication platforms to execute leadership roles and responsibilities. This study contributes to the literature by exploring how school leaders are using the popular digital platform Twitter.

This research employed a sequential mixed methods design, utilizing both descriptive quantitative data and interview qualitative data to answer the question “who” is tweeting and explore the deeper questions of “why” and “how” school leaders use Twitter. This study moved through six phases with prior phases informing subsequent phases to construct a comprehensive profile of Twitter use and leadership practices. This research demonstrates that school principals primarily use Twitter as a promotional tool to excite and engage an expanded stakeholder base around a common vision. Both informational and promotional tweets served to build relationships, provide information, and satiate the intense informational needs of an expanded stakeholder base, now firmly situated in the digital generation. School leaders used Twitter to project information that serves to support their leadership roles of setting a vision and developing an organization. To a lesser extent, they used Twitter to consume and collect information that supports their leadership role of developing people.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Croninger, Robert G.
Commitee: Cohen, Helene, Richardson, Patricia, Klees, Stephen, Bote, Lisa
School: University of Maryland, College Park
Department: Education Policy, and Leadership
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 81/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education Policy, Educational administration, Communication, Educational leadership
Keywords: Leadership, School principals, social media, Twitter
Publication Number: 10976145
ISBN: 9781085562591
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