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Faculty Trust and Organizational School Characteristics: An Exploration Across Secondary Schools in Flanders

by D. Van Maele, M. Van Houtte
Educational Administration Quarterly ()

Abstract

Purpose: Teachers trusting other groups of actors in their school enhances a school’s functioning. Research relating teacher trust to school context has proven scarce, however. This study explores the extent to which teachers from a same school share a level of trust. Organizational value culture, size, and group composition are associated with faculty trust in students, parents, colleagues, and the principal. Research Design: Data were gathered via anonymous surveys completed by 2,104 teachers in 84 secondary schools in Flanders in the 2004-2005 school year. Measures for individual teachers’ trust were based on the scales developed by Hoy and Tschannen-Moran. To explore the existence of faculty trust, an index of mean rater reliability based on the intraclass correlation coefficient from a one-way analysis of variance was used. Findings: Faculty trust exists within Flemish secondary schools and is composed of four dimensions relating to four separate referents of trust. Organizational value culture, size, and composition affect the level of organizational trust in schools. Socioeconomic school composition heavily determines staff trust. Trust in colleagues is higher in private schools than in public schools. A high proportion of immigrant students lowers teachers’ trust in parents. Conclusions: Relating a staff’s academic culture and students’ study culture to teacher trust is advisable. For a successful implementation of reform initiatives, schools with the described characteristics should adopt programs to enhance teacher trust. Principals and leaders should be aware of organizational characteristics affecting trust in schools.

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