A Heuristic Narrative Inquiry on the Conceptualization and Cultivation of Relational Trust Between Secondary Teachers and Administrators
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The interactions of teachers and administrators may not account for as much time as the interactions between teachers and students, but there is great potential value in examining this relationship and examining its machinery. Of particular interest to this study were the stories teachers told about relational trust between teachers and administrators. Research exists that implies a strong connection between trust and performance in an organizational space (Cook, Murphy, & Hunt, 2000; Kraft, Marinell & Shen-Wei Yee, 2016; Lawson et al., 2017; Tschannen-Moran & Gareis, 2015a). Sallee’s (2014) work shows correlations between the principal-teacher relationship and teacher self-efficacy. This heuristic narrative inquiry enlivens and deepens the conversations about organizational trust in schools through its elicited teacher narratives, which shed light on the lived experiences of eight participants in one large, Midwestern, suburban high school, who share their “secret,” “sacred,” and “cover” stories and co-author an ethnographic portrait of their experience with the researcher. These stories are contextualized in the researcher’s own narrative frame, which layers his own personal meaning amidst their voices and storied truths about their relationships with administration. Using these teacher narratives along with site-based descriptive statistical measures on teacher principal trust, this study deepens the understanding of how trust—the “soft tissue” of an organization (Wilcox, Lawson, & Angelis, 2015, p. 28)—thickens or thins through a heuristic narrative inquiry. The unit of analysis for this study is teacher stories of relational trust. The narrative themes which emerged from these teacher stories include: (1) Role Rapport Harmony; (2) Eleemosynary Presence; (3) Ecology of Excellence; and (4) Authoring Invitational Space. The work of this dissertation offers perspective for educational leadership about how they are perceived, seen, and valued from the perspective of a school with average teacher-principal trust, high trust in colleagues, and average trust in students, according to Hoy and Tschannen-Moran’s (2007) Omnibus T-Scale. My decision to use a cartoon ethnograph as a representation of lived experience increases the accessibility of teachers’ voices through their stories about their relationship with their principals.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of literature -- Methodology -- Findings and discussion -- Implications of findings --Appendix A. Teacher questionnaire: The Omnibus T-scale -- Appendix B. Interview guide -- Appendix C. Member checking email -- Appendix D. Interpretive code frequency table
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)