Exploring the role of positive leadership for mobilizing innovative practices : a social network approach

Source document: Studia paedagogica. 2021, vol. 26, iss. 2, pp. [31]-48
  • ISSN
    1803-7437 (print)
    2336-4521 (online)
License: Not specified license
An emerging body of literature suggests the importance of positive leadership for school and district improvement (e.g., Cherkowski, 2018; Louis & Murphy, 2018). A number of lines of evidence have converged upon how positive leadership principles can influence behavioral outcomes (e.g., collaboration among school staff), attitudinal outcomes (e.g., job satisfaction), leader-related outcomes (e.g., trust for leadership), and performance outcomes (e.g., collective efficacy), as well as a wide variety of moderating and mediating variables for these outcomes (Murphy & Louis, 2018). At present, there is little evidence about the role of positive leadership in relation to the mobilization of innovative teaching and learning practices, particularly practices that advance well-being and positive mental health for students and teachers. This article reports on a study that examined the associations between school staff perceptions of positive school leadership, their behaviors related to innovative practices, and their connections to other staff within a multi-school network. The question guiding our work was, "How do school staff perceptions of positive leadership alongside information about their school roles and social connections influence the potential for mobilizing innovative practices?" A cross-sectional survey methodolog y combining traditional and social network data collection methods (Carolan, 2014; Groves et al., 2009) was employed to generate an understanding of the interconnectedness of relational patterns within schools, perceptions of positive leadership, and individual efforts toward innovation. The case for this study was a federation comprising three infant schools in Hampshire, England. In total, 31 teaching staff completed the survey: a response rate of 84%. Our analysis suggests that well-being and positive mental health leadership roles are important not only for mobilizing advice about teaching practices and classroom management, but also in galvanizing the expressive social networks that promote self-governance in school staff. Furthermore, expert uses of innovative practices related to well-being appear to be concentrated on the staff holding well-being leadership positions. Although it is intuitively beneficial to have this concentration of expertise in individuals explicitly charged to promote and support well-being, comparisons between the instrumental and expressive networks suggest that some school staff were not strongly influenced by these leaders. We view this finding as reflecting the importance of paying attention to how practices are mobilized throughout school networks. Against the backdrop of positive leadership, mobilizing practices requires that leaders have an authentic understanding of their staff, an attentiveness to their needs, and an ability to attune their behaviors to those needs.
[1] Bland, J. M., & Altman, D. G. (1997). Statistics notes: Cronbach's alpha . BMJ, 314, 572. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7080.572 | DOI 10.1136/bmj.314.7080.572

[2] Borgatti, S. P., Everett, M. G., & Johnson, J. C. (2018). Analyzing social networks . Sage.

[3] Brown, C. (2020). The networked school leader: How to improve teaching and student outcomes using learning networks . Emerald Publishing.

[4] Brown, C., Daly, A., & Liou, Y.-H. (2016). Improving trust, improving schools . Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 1(1), 69–91. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPCC-09-2015-0004 | DOI 10.1108/JPCC-09-2015-0004

[5] Brown, C., & Rogers, S. (2014). Measuring the effectiveness of knowledge creation as a means of facilitating evidence-informed practice in early years settings in one London borough . London Review of Education, 12(3), 245–260. https://doi.org/10.18546/LRE.12.3.01 | DOI 10.18546/LRE.12.3.01

[6] Carolan, B. (2014). Social network analysis and education . Sage.

[7] Cherkowski, S. (2018). Positive teacher leadership: Building mindsets and capacities to grow wellbeing . International Journal of Teacher Leadership, 9(1), 63–78.

[8] Coburn, C. E., Mata, W. S., & Choi, L. (2013). The embeddedness of teachers' social networks: Evidence from a study of mathematics reform . Sociology of Education, 86(4), 311–342. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038040713501147 | DOI 10.1177/0038040713501147

[9] Costello, A. B., & Osbourne, J. W. (2005). Best practices in exploratory factor analysis: Four recommendations for getting the most from your analysis . Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 10(7), 1–9.

[10] Daly, A. J. (2010). Mapping the terrain: Social network theory and educational change . In A. J.

[11] Daly (Ed.), Social network theory and educational change (pp. 1–16). Harvard Education Press.

[12] Daly, A. J. (2012). Data, dyads, and dynamics: Exploring data use and social networks in educational improvement . Teachers College Record, 114(11), 1–38.

[13] Daly, A. J., Liou, Y.-H., & Brown, C. (2016). Social Red Bull: Exploring energy relationships in a school district leadership team . Harvard Educational Review, 86(3), 412–448. https://doi.org/10.17763/1943-5045-86.3.412 | DOI 10.17763/1943-5045-86.3.412

[14] Díaz-Gibson, J., Zaragoza, M. C., Daly, A. J., Mayayo, M. J., & Romaní, J. R. (2017). Networked leadership in educational collaborative networks . Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 45(6), 1040–1059. https://doi.org/10.1177/1741143216628532 | DOI 10.1177/1741143216628532

[15] Dowling, S. (2016). Professional development and the Teaching Schools experiment in England: Leadership challenges in an alliance's first year . Management in Education, 30(1), 29–34. https://doi.org/10.1177 percent2F0892020615619666 | DOI 10.1177/0892020615619666

[16] Eva, N., Robin, M., Sendjaya, S., van Dierendonck, D., & Liden, R. C. (2019). Servant leadership: A systematic review and call for future research . Leadership Quarterly, 30(1), 111–132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2018.07.004 | DOI 10.1016/j.leaqua.2018.07.004

[17] Farley-Ripple, E. N., & Buttram, J. L. (2013). Harnessing the power of teacher networks . Phi Delta Kappan, 95(3), 12–15. https://doi.org/10.1177/003172171309500304 | DOI 10.1177/003172171309500304

[18] Farley-Ripple, E., & Buttram, J. (2015). The development of capacity for data use: The role of teacher networks in an elementary school . Teachers College Record, 117(4), 1–34.

[19] Finnigan, K. S., & Daly, A. J. (2012). Mind the gap: Organizational learning and improvement in an underperforming urban system . American Journal of Education, 119(1), 41–71. https://doi.org/10.1086/667700 | DOI 10.1086/667700

[20] Flyvbjerg, B. (2001). Making social science matter . Cambridge University Press.

[21] Greason, P. B., & Cashwell, G. S. (2009). Mindfulness and counseling self-efficacy: The mediating role of attention and empathy . Counselor Education & Supervision, 49(1), 2–19. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1556-6978.2009.tb00083.x | DOI 10.1002/j.1556-6978.2009.tb00083.x

[22] Greenleaf, R. K. (1970). The servant as leader . The Robert K. Greenleaf Center.

[23] Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness . Paulist Press.

[24] Groves, R. M., Fowler, F. J. Jr., Couper, M. P., Lepkowski, J. M., Singer, E., & Tourangeau, R. (2009). Survey methodology (2nd Ed.). Wiley.

[25] Hadfield, M., Jopling, M., Noden, C., O'Leary, D., & Stott, A. (2006). What does the existing knowledge base tell us about the impact of networking and collaboration? A review of network-based innovations in education in the UK . National College for School Leadership.

[26] Hall, G. E., & Hord, S. M. (2020). Implementing change: Patterns, principles, and potholes . Pearson Education.

[27] Harris, M., & Lusk, E. (2010, July 1). Knowledge brokering in the Canadian mental health and dementia health care system: Canadian brokering core competency framework . Canadian Dementia Knowledge Translation Network. http://www.knowledgemobilization.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/KB-Core-Competency-Framework_July2010.pdf

[28] Hoch, J. E., Bommer, W. H., Dulebohn, J. H., & Wu, D. (2018). Do ethical, authentic, and servant leadership explain variance above and beyond transformational leadership? A meta-analysis . Journal of Management, 44(2), 501–529. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206316665461 | DOI 10.1177/0149206316665461

[29] Kock, N., Mayfield, M., Mayfield, J., Sexton, S., & De La Garza, L. M. (2019). Empathetic leadership: How leader emotional support and understanding influences follower performance . Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 26(2), 217–236. https://doi.org/10.1177/1548051818806290 | DOI 10.1177/1548051818806290

[30] Lawlor, J., Mills, K., Neal, Z., Watling, J., Wilson, C., & McAlindon, K. (2019). Approaches to measuring use of research evidence in K-12 settings: A systematic review . Educational Research Review, 27, 218–228. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2019.04.002 | DOI 10.1016/j.edurev.2019.04.002

[31] Lee, A., Lyubovnikova, J., Tian, A. W., & Knight, C. (2019). Servant leadership: A meta-analytic examination of incremental contribution, moderation, and mediation . Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 93(1), 1–44. https://doi.org/10.1111/joop.12265 | DOI 10.1111/joop.12265

[32] Liden, R. C., Wayne, S. J., Meuser, J. D., Hu, J., Wu, J., & Liao, C. (2015). Servant leadership: Validation of a short form of the SL-28 . Leadership Quarterly, 26(2), 254–269. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2014.12.002 | DOI 10.1016/j.leaqua.2014.12.002

[33] Liden, R. C., Wayne, S. J., Zhao, H., & Henderson, D. (2008). Servant leadership: Development of a multidimensional measure and multi-level assessment . Leadership Quarterly, 19(2), 161–177. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2008.01.006 | DOI 10.1016/j.leaqua.2008.01.006

[34] Lin, N. (2001). Social capital: A theory of social structure and action . Cambridge University Press.

[35] Louis, K. S., & Murphy, J. F. (2018). The potential of positive leadership for school improvement: A cross-disciplinary synthesis . Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education, 2(2–3), 165–180. http://doi.org/10.7577/njcie.2790 | DOI 10.7577/njcie.2790

[36] Moolenaar, N. M., Sleegers, P. J. C., & Daly, A. J. (2012a). Teaming up: Linking collaboration networks, collective efficacy, and student achievement . Teaching and Teacher Education, 28(2), 251–262. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2011.10.001 | DOI 10.1016/j.tate.2011.10.001

[37] Moolenaar, N. M., Sleegers, P., Karsten, S., & Daly, A. (2012b). The social fabric of elementary schools: A network typology of social interaction among teachers . Educational Studies, 38(4), 355–371. https://doi.org/10.1080/03055698.2011.643101 | DOI 10.1080/03055698.2011.643101

[38] Murphy, J. F., & Louis, K. S. (2018). Positive school leadership: Building capacity and strengthening relationships . Teachers College Press.

[39] Van Dierendonck, D. (2011). Servant leadership: A review and synthesis . Journal of Management, 37(4), 1228–1261. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206310380462 | DOI 10.1177/0149206310380462

[40] Van Dierendonck, D., Nuijten, I., & Heeren, I. (2009). Servant leadership, key to follower well-being . In D. Tjosvold & B. Wisse (Eds.), Power and interdependence in organizations (pp. 319–337). Cambridge University Press.

[41] Zhu, W., Zheng, X., Riggio, R. E., & Zhang, X. (2015). A critical review of theories and measures of ethics-related leadership . New Directions for Student Leadership, (146), 81–96. https://doi.org/10.1002/yd.20137 | DOI 10.1002/yd.20137