While school boards routinely establish goals, it is unclear the extent to which they achieve and measure their goals. Using collective efficacy may be one method for these local legislative bodies to measure success while understanding their group's belief that they can meet predetermined objectives (Bandura, 1993). This study sought to understand the perceived sense of collective efficacy and goal attainment among school boards. Members from five public school boards participated in two sessions of semi-structured interviews, over a 21-month period. Data were collected and analyzed using grounded theory procedures.
The findings suggest the foundation of collective efficacy involved various experiences defined as mastery experiences, vicarious learning, affective state, and social persuasion consistent with existing literature while encountering challenges (Bandura, 1993). For school boards, social persuasion was the main source of collective efficacy as opposed to past mastery experiences as determined through studies of other groups (Bandura, 1997; Gibson, 1999). All of the school boards were influenced more by non-board member perceptions or input than by their past successful experiences, feelings toward their work, or by implementing successful practices from other school boards. Over time, school boards could move from dysfunctional to efficacious and vice versa.
The findings suggest the school boards determined goal attainment in various ways. The collective efforts to reach goal success were not like those of groups in other studies such as military units and athletic teams (Meisenhelder, 2002; Spink, 1990). The findings of this study emphasized the following factors impacted school boards' perceived sense of collective efficacy: (a) their shared understanding of operating procedures (b) the importance of member relationships, (c) school board-superintendent relations that shaped the work of the board, (d) their persistence in overcoming obstacles, (e) external factors, and (f) time pressures to complete board work. Findings further revealed differences in board members' accounts in connecting school board collective efficacy and board goal attainment. That is, board members equated public perceptions of positive social relations with efficacy rather than goal attainment.
|Commitee:||Clayton, Jennifer, Emerson, Joseph T., Johnson, Patricia J., Wesner, Marilyn|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Educational Administration and Policy Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/11, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, School administration, Organizational behavior|
|Keywords:||Collective efficacy, Efficacy, Goal attainment, Governance, School boards|
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