The relationship of distributed leadership, social networks, and work experiences

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Hickle, Sarah
Salloum, Serena J.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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The purpose of this study was to move beyond understanding the theoretical definition of distributed leadership and to discern the relationship of distributed leadership within the context of social networks and work experience outcomes. In examining both distributed leadership and social networks, this study’s purpose was to better understand how distributed leadership is operationalized through social networks. An additional purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between distributed leadership and teachers’ work experience outcomes. Through quantitative data analysis of distributed leadership constructs, social network centrality measures, and work experience outcomes, this study aimed to better understand the relationships between these variables. Significant findings for research surfaced for four demographic variables: gender, years in the building, years experience and time on leadership tasks. Both inferential statistics and social network analysis illuminated the relationship between demographic variables on both distributed leadership as well as work experience outcomes. Results of this study suggest a significant relationship between gender and administrative trust (t=3.731, p<.001) as well as job satisfaction (t=1.754, p<.05). There is also a statistically significant relationship between teacher’s time spent on leadership tasks and their perceived trust in administration (F (3, 177) = 3.111, p=.028). Social network analysis confirmed these findings as well. Distributed leadership is positively correlated to all three work experience variables of administrative trust (r=.30, p<.001), work engagement (r=.50, p<.001) and job satisfaction (r=.59, p<.001). Distributed leadership is also positively correlated with the social network measures of outdegree (r=.27, p<.001) and sum (in and outdegree) (r=.22, p<.01). Because this study indicates strong relationships between distributed leadership, social networks and work experience outcomes it is important for leaders and educators alike to consider the implications for practice, policy, and theory to build effective building climates, leadership structures and supports to benefit teachers.