Year of Publication

2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Tricia Browne-Ferrigno

Abstract

School staff are continuously asked to adapt to changes that are set forth by various governmental and community agencies. These changes are set in motion to improve schools, however, with change brings conflict. Organizational learning has gained attention as a way to adjust to change. Because conflict can be a taxing, disruptive occurrence in organizations, the purpose of this study was to examine how leaders of schools with high teacher empowerment levels use conflict as a positive force to move their schools forward, despite constant change. Research suggests a connection between organizational learning and teacher empowerment. Additional research was necessary to explore this link.

This study described and analyzed how school leaders use conflict constructively to promote individual growth and organizational learning. Review of district Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Kentucky survey data informed the selection of six schools which evidenced high teacher empowerment. Data were collected through individual interviews with principals, an online teacher survey, as well as focus group interviews with teachers to gain their perspectives about how their school leaders manage conflict.

Analysis of data identified themes for how teacher empowerment and organizational learning are connected, and perceptions of conflict. The findings suggest that a risk-safe environment is essential for ensuring that conflict can be a constructive force in schools. Conflict is also affected by the level teacher leadership, engagement and decision-making. Constructive conflict is evidenced in school that have high levels of trust among school staff. Schools leaders can use constructive conflict to promote individual growth and organizational learning.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2017.231

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