Making Meaning of Trust in the Organizational Setting of a School

  • Author / Creator
    deGoeij, Konsctancija
  • Recognizing that teachers are both leaders in their classrooms and colleagues in the school setting, this study focuses on the interplay of trust in the interpersonal professional relationships of teachers with their principals from the perspective of teachers. The rationale for the examination of trust is based on the assumption that trust is a key element in all human relationships and is often taken for granted because it is usually not thought about until trust fails to exist.

    The literature review revealed what is already known about trust, helped identify issues that merited exploration including the importance of trust, provided a solid theoretical foundation that informed the study’s methodology, and enabled me to rationalize my phenomenological approach research design. In order to come to a deeper understanding of a teacher’s experience of trust and what happens when the everyday flow of lived experience takes on a particular significance it was necessary for me to access teachers’ subjective realities. Using an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis approach (IPA) based on the work of Smith, Flowers, and Larkin (2009), interviews were conducted using stratified purposeful sampling with 16 Alberta teachers, with varying experience levels and diverse career backgrounds. The data was organized as clusters or patterns that emerged through my interpretation of the participants’ experiences. By interrogating the meaning of the various clusters, subordinate themes were determined which expressed the essence of these clusters which then were compared and contrasted and encapsulated in superordinate themes.
    In previous research, trust has traditionally been considered as a monolithic variable characterized by experiences through relationships within a school (Bryk & Schneider, 2002, 2003; Kochanek, 2005). However, this study reveals that trust is best understood in a combination of two ways. First, trust is a process of holding certain perceptions and anticipation of the reliability of the other party, and secondly, trust is a product of accumulated opportunities for interaction between teachers and the principal. The findings of this study supported the viewpoint that trust in the principal was influenced by specific behaviours of the principal.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Educational Administration and Leadership
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Wimmer, Randolph (Education Policy Studies)
    • Peters, Frank (Education Policy Studies)
    • Newton, Paul (Education Policy Studies)
    • Sherman, Ann (External from the University of New Brunswick)
    • Adams, Catherine (Secondary Education)