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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2015

Nienke M. Moolenaar and Peter J. C. Sleegers

While in everyday practice, school leaders are often involved in social relationships with a variety of stakeholders both within and outside their own schools, studies on…

Abstract

Purpose

While in everyday practice, school leaders are often involved in social relationships with a variety of stakeholders both within and outside their own schools, studies on school leaders’ networks often focus either on networks within or outside schools. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent to which principals occupy similar positions in their school’s network and the larger district network. In addition, the authors examined whether principals’ centrality in both networks can be attributed to demographic characteristics and transformational leadership (TL).

Design/methodology/approach

Using social network analysis, correlational and regression analysis, and an advanced social network technique, namely p2 modeling, the authors analyzed data collected among 708 educators in 46 Dutch elementary schools. The authors also offer a visualization of the district social network to explore principals’ relationships with other principals in the district.

Findings

Results suggest that principals who occupy a central position in their school’s advice network are also more likely to occupy a central position in their district’s collaborative leadership network. Moreover, TL was found to affect the extent to which principals are central in both networks.

Originality/value

The study is unique as it simultaneously explores principals’ social relationships in schools and the larger district. Moreover, the authors advance the knowledge of TL as a possible mechanism that may shape the pattern of these relationships, thereby connecting two streams of literature that were until now largely disconnected. Limitations to the study warrant further qualitative and longitudinal research on principals’ social relationships in schools, districts, and the larger community.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 53 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 25 March 2019

Bieke Schreurs, Antoine Van den Beemt, Nienke Moolenaar and Maarten De Laat

This paper aims to investigate the extent professionals from the vocational sector are networked individuals. The authors explore how professionals use their personal…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the extent professionals from the vocational sector are networked individuals. The authors explore how professionals use their personal networks to engage in a wide variety of learning activities and examine what social mechanisms influence professionals’ agency to form personal informal learning networks.

Design/methodology/approach

This study applied a mixed-method approach to data collection. Social network data were gathered among school professionals working in the vocational sector. Ego-network analysis was performed. A total of 24 in-depth, semi-structured, qualitative interviews were analyzed.

Findings

This study found that networked individualism is not represented to its full potential in the vocational sector. However, it is important to form informal learning ties with different stakeholders because all types of informal learning ties serve different learning purposes. The extent to which social mechanisms (i.e. proximity, trust, level of expertise and homophily) influence professionals’ agency to form informal learning ties differs depending on the stakeholder with whom the informal learning ties are formed.

Research limitations/implications

This study excludes the investigation of social mechanisms that shape learning through more impersonal virtual learning resources, such as social media or expert forums. Moreover, the authors only included individual- and dyadic-level social mechanisms.

Practical implications

By investigating the social mechanisms that shape informal learning ties, this study provides insights how professionals can be stimulated to build rich personal learning networks in the vocational sector.

Originality/value

The authors extend earlier research with in-depth information on the different types of learning activities professionals engage in in their personal learning networks with different stakeholders. The ego-network perspective reveals how different social mechanisms influence professionals’ agency to shape informal learning networks with different stakeholders.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2019

Edith H. Hooge, Nienke M. Moolenaar, Karin C.J. van Look, Selma K. Janssen and Peter J.C. Sleegers

Although it is assumed that school district governance by districts leaders can impact schools’ capacity to improvement and educational quality, there is little systematic…

Abstract

Purpose

Although it is assumed that school district governance by districts leaders can impact schools’ capacity to improvement and educational quality, there is little systematic evidence to support this claim. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how governance goals and interventions affect school districts’ social capital.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical enquiry used quantitative data on district leaders enacting governance as perceived by their school principals. These data were collected among 399 school principals of 23 Dutch school districts in elementary education, using a survey. Social network data on social capital within school districts were collected using a social network survey among educational administrators (i.e. district leaders, central office administrators and school principals). Additionally, examples of the relation between school district social capital and governance at six school districts were described.

Findings

Results suggest that district leaders can promote the organizational social capital of their school districts through focusing on educational goals. In addition, the findings show that they can reinforce their impact by using interventions varying in coercion level, of which offering support to school principals appears to be “a golden button” to make organizational social capital thrive.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations to the study are the generalizability of the findings (they can be questioned because “convenience sampling” was used) and warrant a longitudinal design to examine how organization social capital develops over time.

Originality/value

The study is unique as it addresses the impact district leaders may have on their districts’ social capital by focusing on social network approach in the study of school district governance.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 57 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 53 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2010

Alan J. Daly, Nienke M. Moolenaar, Jose M. Bolivar and Peggy Burke

Scholars have focused their attention on systemic reform as a way to support instructional coherence. These efforts are often layered on to existing social relationships…

Abstract

Purpose

Scholars have focused their attention on systemic reform as a way to support instructional coherence. These efforts are often layered on to existing social relationships between school staff that are rarely taken into account when enacting reform. Social network theory posits that the structure of social relationships may influence the direction, speed, and depth of organizational change and therefore may provide valuable insights in the social forces that may support or constrain reform efforts. This study aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This mixed‐methods exploratory case study examined five schools within one under‐performing school district as it enacted a system‐wide reform. Quantitative survey data were collected to assess social networks and teacher work perception of five schools enacting the reform. Qualitative data were gathered through individual interviews from educators within representative grade levels as a way to better understand the diffusion and implementation of the reform.

Findings

Despite being enacted as a system‐wide reform effort, the results suggest significant variance within and between schools in terms of reform‐related social networks. These networks were significantly related to the uptake, depth, and spread of the change. Densely connected grade levels were also associated with more interactions focused on teaching and learning and an increased sense of grade level efficacy.

Practical implications

The findings underline the importance of attending to relational linkages as a complementary strategy to the technical emphasis of reform efforts, as social networks were found to significantly facilitate or constrain reform efforts. Implications and recommendations are offered for leadership, policy and practice that may support the design and implementation of reforms, which may ultimately increase student performance.

Originality/value

The study makes a unique contribution to the reform literature by drawing on social network theory as a way to understand efforts at reform. The work suggests that the informal social linkages on which reform is layered may support or constrain the depth of reform.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 48 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2015

Heather E. Price

The purpose of this paper is to link the social interactions between principals and their teachers to teachers’ perceptions of their students’ engagement with school…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to link the social interactions between principals and their teachers to teachers’ perceptions of their students’ engagement with school, empirically testing the theoretical proposition that principals influence students through their teachers in the US charter school environment. The mediating influence of latent beliefs of trust and support are tested in this process.

Design/methodology/approach

By analyzing pooled network and survey data collected in 15 Indianapolis charter schools using stepwise, fixed-effects regression techniques, this study tests the association between interactions of principals and teachers, on the one hand, and teachers’ perceptions of student engagement, on the other. The extent to which latent beliefs about teachers – in particular, trust in teachers and support of teachers by the administrators – mediate this relationship is also tested.

Findings

Direct relationships between principal-teacher interactions and latent beliefs of trust and support are confirmed. Direct relationships between latent beliefs and perceptions of academic and school engagement are also confirmed. There is a relationship between principal-teacher interactions and teacher perceptions of student engagement, but the mediating effect of latent beliefs of trust and support accounts for much of the direct association. The reachability of the principal remains a significant and direct influence on teachers’ perceptions of academic engagement after accounting for trust and support.

Research limitations/implications

Moving beyond principals’ personality dispositions in management and turning to the social relationships that they form with teachers adds to the understanding of how principal leadership affects student learning. Empirically distinguishing between the actual interactions and social dispositions of principals helps inform practical implications. Focussing on how principals’ social interactions with teachers influence teachers’ perceptions of students’ engagement provides a theoretical link as to how principals indirectly influence student achievement.

Practical implications

The relationships that principals build with teachers have real implications on the beliefs of trust and support among teachers in a school and have a ripple effect on teachers’ perceptions of student engagement. These findings therefore suggest that frequently moving principals among schools is not an ideal policy.

Originality/value

This study tests the theoretical boundaries of school organization research by using a within-schools design with charter schools. It also links leadership research to outcomes typically restricted to research on school culture and climate.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 53 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 10 May 2011

A. Ross Thomas

Abstract

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 49 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Content available
Article
Publication date: 16 August 2011

A. Ross Thomas

Abstract

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 49 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2015

Ben Pogodzinski

Mentoring can improve novice teacher effectiveness and reduce teacher attrition, yet the depth and breadth of mentoring can vary greatly within and between schools. The…

Abstract

Purpose

Mentoring can improve novice teacher effectiveness and reduce teacher attrition, yet the depth and breadth of mentoring can vary greatly within and between schools. The purpose of this paper is to identify the extent to which a school’s administrative context is associated with the focus and frequency of novice teacher-mentor interactions.

Design/methodology/approach

By estimating logistic regression models, the author identified the association between novices’ perceptions of their working conditions and the content and frequency of interactions with their formally assigned mentors.

Findings

When novice teachers perceived positive administrator-teacher relations in their schools and reported that administrative duties did not interfere with their core work as teachers, they were more likely to frequently interact with their mentors around issues of curriculum.

Research limitations/implications

Studies of new teacher induction need to more fully account for elements of school-level organizational context which influence novice teacher-mentor interactions, specifically related to administrative decision making and climate. Future research should seek to identify the extent to which formal policy related to new teacher induction is supported by broader elements of the organizational context.

Practical implications

In addition to implementing sound formal policies related to teacher mentoring, school administrators should seek to foster a school climate that promotes administrator-teacher and teacher-teacher collaboration to promote improved teacher mentoring.

Originality/value

This study builds upon previous research by drawing attention to the association between broad measures of school-level administrative context related to the quality of working conditions and teacher mentoring.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 53 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2015

Dimitri Van Maele and Mieke Van Houtte

The purpose of this paper is to consider trust as an important relational source in schools by exploring whether trust lowers teacher burnout. The authors examine how…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider trust as an important relational source in schools by exploring whether trust lowers teacher burnout. The authors examine how trust relationships with different school parties such as the principal relate to distinct dimensions of teacher burnout. The authors further analyze whether school-level trust additionally influences burnout. In doing this, the authors account for other teacher and school characteristics.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use quantitative data gathered during the 2008-2009 school year from 673 teachers across 58 elementary schools in Flanders (i.e. the northern Dutch-speaking region of Belgium). Because teacher and school characteristics are simultaneously related to burnout, multilevel modeling is applied.

Findings

Trust can act as a buffer against teacher burnout. Teachers’ trust in students demonstrates the strongest association with burnout compared to trust in principals or colleagues. Exploring relationships of trust in distinct school parties with different burnout dimensions yield interesting additional insights such as the specific importance of teacher-principal trust for teachers’ emotional exhaustion. Burnout is further an individual teacher matter to which school-level factors are mainly unrelated.

Research limitations/implications

Principals fulfill an important role in inhibiting emotional exhaustion among teachers. They are advised to create a school atmosphere that is conducive for different kinds of trust relationships to develop. Actions to strengthen trust and inhibit teacher burnout are necessary, although further qualitative and longitudinal research is desirable.

Originality/value

This paper offers a unique contribution by examining trust in different school parties as a relational buffer against teacher burnout. It indicates that principals can affect teacher burnout and prevent emotional exhaustion by nurturing trusting relationships in school.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 53 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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