Leadership in school improvement networks : social network analysis of principal ego-networks




O'Reilly, Sissi Dinh

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This research seeks to understand and interpret how principals sustain school improvement programs with interorganizational networks after program dissolution and exogenous changes through the analysis of the development of culture, communication, and leadership behaviors in a network context using qualitative research methods and social network analysis of principal ego-networks. Social network theory is applied to analyze how principals sustain large-scale school-improvement and implement whole-school reform models that collaborate with outside organizations after disruptions have occurred in the school community, such as exogenous crises or funding dissipation. Key findings of these social network analyses show that principals engage their networks differently to sustain communications, maintain interactions, problem-solve, and lead school improvement when changes occur in the system or after program termination. This study contributes to the literature on school leadership and school reform by examining five principal ego-networks after the initial full school improvement implementation process, analyzing these different school improvement contexts using interorganizational networks, sharing potential institutional constraints and limitations of external partnerships after program end, and recommending approaches for sustainability or replication of school improvement implementation for future reform efforts.


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