Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Sauers

Second Advisor

Dr. Yinying Wang

Third Advisor

Dr. James Kahrs


Disparities in the educational experiences of economically disadvantaged students continue into the first quarter of the 21st century. Studies on organizational learning have shown that schools have had more success with acquiring and distributing information on effective instructional structures and practices than implementing them to become a school’s learning culture. This qualitative study examined principals’ and teachers’ perceptions of leadership practices that enhance organizational learning and influence collective teacher efficacy. The following research questions guided this study: (1) What are the principal and teachers’ perceptions of principal practices that enhance organizational learning? (2) What role does collective teacher efficacy play in influencing organizational learning? The hermeneutic interpretive phenomenological study explored the perspectives of eight participants who serve as school leaders and teachers in a large urban public school district in the Southeastern United States. The study used the conceptual framework of organizational learning mechanisms (OLMs) to ground the data collection from semi-structured interviews focused on acquiring, distributing, analyzing, retrieving, and using information for decision-making. Interview questions also collected data on enactive (mastery), vicarious, and emotive (affective) states necessary for collective teacher efficacy to flourish. The interview data provided rich descriptions of participants’ lived experiences concerning changes the schools implemented to improve student learning. I maintained a reflexive journal to capture the thoughts and reactions I experienced during the interviewing process to account for my prejudices and biases regarding teaching and learning. Interview data were analyzed using the stages of the interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) technique. Two main themes emerged from the data analysis. 1) Coaching promotes a culture of collaboration and learning, and 2) Participative decision-making encourages staff to contribute and solve problems. The two main themes emerged from synthesizing several sub-themes. The sub-themes such as coaching shift teacher focus to student-centered learning, PLCs engage teachers in collective ownership, district personnel, and parents are partners in learning. Intentional collaboration between new and experienced teachers combined to form one of the main themes, coaching promotes a culture of collaboration and learning for all. Similarly, the other main theme developed from the sub-themes, staff having access to relevant information, such as student data, to make instructional decisions encourage participative decision-making. During participative decision-making, staff contribute ideas and solve problems that affect student achievement. Implications of this research lead to recommendations for schools and districts. The schools and districts can use coaching structures effectively to maximize the benefits of PLC, developing collective efficacy by creating structures and practices for staff to learn with their peers collaboratively to practice participative decision-making to build collective ownership of all students.


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