Date of Award

Summer 5-30-2019

Document Type

Dissertation - Brandman access only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Philip Pendley

Second Advisor

Dr. Walt Buster

Third Advisor

Dr. Timothy McCarty

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this research study was to identify and describe the activities that assistant superintendents of instructional/educational services divisions from exemplary California public school districts utilize, and barriers encountered and overcome, in the development and maintenance of their executive-level teams.

Methodology: This qualitative study was accomplished by interviewing assistant superintendents of instructional/educational services divisions from exemplary California public school districts regarding the most effective activities used in the building and maintenance of their executive level teams. There is much research on team development at the school site level, but not with school district assistant superintendents of instructional/educational services divisions. This study attempted to fill that gap. By identifying and describing the most effective activities assistant superintendents of instructional/educational services divisions used to develop tasks and relationships, and overcome barriers, with their teams, it is possible to develop best practices to train other educational leaders in these activities.

Findings: A total of 11 common themes emerged from this study. Providing opportunities to engage in civil discourse, modeling collaborative behaviors, and investing in personal connections were found to be important activities to develop and maintain teams. In addition, communication and lack of resources were found to be barriers that could be productively managed and overcome in the development and maintenance of teams.

Conclusions: Five main conclusions were drawn from the study’s findings. First, leaders are central to the development and maintenance of executive-level teams. Second, healthy discourse is the vehicle or medium through which teams get things done. Third, de-emphasizing positional power can help in the development and maintenance of executive-level teams. Next, attention to developing relationships as well as team tasks is important for team maintenance. Last, celebrating what is valued is important to developing and maintaining teams.

Recommendations: Based on the conclusions of the study, educational leaders should have opportunities to build capacity with discourse and communication. In addition, school districts should adopt practices that help reward collaborative behavior. Furthermore, educational leadership could benefit from ongoing training and support with intentional team development and facilitating more efficient and effective team meetings for increased and equitable participation.

Available for download on Monday, September 30, 2019

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