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distributed and transformational leadership human resources management school leadership development underperforming high needs schools

How Do Distributed and Transformational Leadership Teams Improve Working Conditions and Student Learning in Underperforming High-Needs Schools?

Henry Tran , Jingtong Dou , Rose Ylimaki , Lyntte Brunderman

Theories of distributed leadership suggest that organizational learning and change results not from the efforts of a single individual, but rather fro.


Theories of distributed leadership suggest that organizational learning and change results not from the efforts of a single individual, but rather from a network of people working within their broader systems. Team empowering leadership enhances human resources development of the organization to promote the sharing of knowledge that is necessary for change. In this study, we study transformational and distributed leadership team that have been linked to improving working conditions and students’ learning in high-needs schools. Specifically, we highlight a team-based intervention where positive organizational improvements were made to academically struggling schools, and then qualitatively examined the associated processes to understand what enabled the occurrence of those positive changes. We find that the team structure allowed for the clarification of expectations, enhancement of communication, and improvement of educator working conditions through professional development support and distribution of leadership responsibility, which ultimately resulted in improvement in school culture and performance.

Keywords: Distributed and transformational leadership, human resources management, school leadership development, underperforming high-needs schools.

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