Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Education Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Jayson W. Richardson


The goal of this study was to investigate the interaction between professional development and professional capital within international schools in Asia. The researcher employed a multi-site case study to inform the research goals. A conceptual framework based on Hargreaves and Fullan’s (2012) professional capital theory was used to guide the study’s methods and data collection.

The data were collected in two phases. The first phase consisted of a digital survey that was distributed to ten international schools associated with the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) and the Office of Overseas Schools (OSS). The survey was analyzed to identify the experiences and perceptions of professional development within international schools. The second phase was comprised of semi-structured interview data from twelve international educators to explore the relationship between professional development and professional capital.

The findings of this study helped outline themes of how a professional development fosters professional capital within the international schools. Specifically, international educators use professional development to increase human capital through their experiences to improve personal practice, while developing, retaining, and attracting educators to the international schools. Social capital is impacted through the amount of time international educators allocate to collaborative and networking experiences with other international educators within their field through professional development. By increasing decisional capital, international educators develop expertise with effective professional development guided through the support of mentors by increasing decisional capital.

The findings suggest professional development within the international schools studied is connected to an increase in professional capital. The findings also suggest international educators need to maintain a level of autonomy in regard to decision making to continue to increase professional capital within international schools. Suggestions for a refinement of the theory of professional capital leadership include a balanced approach to professional development where teachers use their human capital and school leaders use their social capital collectively to make professional development decisions.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)