Publication Date


Degree Program

Educational Leadership

Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy


The research problem grounding this study was that due to the increased accountability from state and national school reform efforts, the principal and teacher cannot steadily increase student outcomes in their isolated roles. A two-way flow of influence should exist between the principal and teacher to increase instructional capacity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the flow of influence in three highpoverty, high-achieving elementary schools to see in what ways social influence was exchanged between principals and teachers and how might this exchange increase instructional capacity. The two central research questions were: 1. In what ways do principals and teachers in high-poverty, high-achieving schools exchange social influence? 2. How might this exchange increase instructional capacity building? Schools with high-achievement and high-poverty were targeted for this study because they had overcome barriers (high poverty) and exceeded or met accountability goals for the last two biennia. Other criteria included principal tenure of three or more years and the willingness of the teachers, principal, and superintendents to be participants in the study. Case studies were conducted in three schools that met the site selection criteria. The interpretive case study design afforded the researcher opportunities to closely examine the underlying sociological factors that might be related to increased student outcomes. A two-way flow of influence was found in all three schools. A cross case analysis resulted in these findings: (a) a prerequisite existed for the flow of influence to be operationalized, (b) a teacher-initiated exchange was present in all schools, and (c) needed components of the exchange were possessed by both the principal and teachers. This dissertation included five chapters. Chapter One introduced the study and defined terms. Chapter Two traced the history of reform and noted the increased accountability required of the principal and teachers. Early theorists who examined a flow of influence and norm of reciprocity were also discussed in Chapter Two along with results from research studies that targeted the flow of influence between teachers and the principal. Chapter Three reported the methodology and research questions. The findings were discussed in Chapter Four and Chapter Five provided answers to the two research questions.



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