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Change, Principal Trust and Enabling School Structures: An Analysis of Relationships in Southern Alberta Schools

by Gilmore, Cheryl Anne

Abstract (Summary)
Improved student learning continues to be a pressing issue compelling schools and districts to undergo change. Schools are complex organizations and there are a number of interrelated factors that contribute to the success or failure of change into a new model. In Alberta, organizational change was mandated in 2003 through government acceptance of a Commissions recommendation that all schools operate as a professional learning community. The context of mandated change provided a unique opportunity to examine large scale change with factors that may have a relationship to successful change. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the relationship among three variables: (a) change into a professional learning community, (b) faculty trust in the principal, and (c) enabling school structures. Data collected through questionnaires was obtained from teachers of 45 schools in southern Alberta. The questionnaire contained a demographic data form and three previously developed instruments to measure the variables. Descriptive and correlation analysis was conducted to determine the relationship among the variables. The correlations among the variables were both strong and significant. It was concluded that schools imbued with high levels of trust in the principal were more successful in implementing change into a professional learning community, and more likely to possess enabling school structures. It was also concluded that schools perceived as having high levels of enabling bureaucratic structures were more successful in implementing change as a professional learning community. Overall, the variables of faculty trust in the principal and enabling school structures can be described as conditions related to successful change into a learning organization structure. The results have implications for educational stakeholders charged with instituting change in the context of reform. The conclusions implied that it is imperative for principals to recognize the importance of relationships and the foundation of trust, and attend to behaviors and processes required to build trust and relationships. There is a need for principals to understand the attributes of enabling bureaucracies and learning organizations in order to assess current capacity. Implications for system leaders include giving attention to leadership development, enabling structures at a system level, and modeling relational behaviors that foster trust.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dr. Donald Robson; Dr. Roberta D. Evans; Dr. William P. McCaw; Dr. John C. Lundt; Dr. Betsy W. Bach

School:The University of Montana

School Location:USA - Montana

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:educational leadership

ISBN:

Date of Publication:07/23/2007

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