A Different Lens: Organizational Trust, Social Networks, and Suburban School Leadership

Philip John Benante, Fordham University


Recent reform efforts in New York State have undermined the importance of trust and collaboration among central office and building leaders, the individuals charged with leading efforts to improve schools. The relational patterns among these administrators influence the flow of ideas and information throughout the network and, ultimately, the likelihood of successful improvement initiatives. This case study sought to examine the relationship between trust, social network variables, and individual attributes to better understand the intersection of trust and school leadership dynamics. The study used the Organizational Trust Inventory (OTI) and a social network survey to measure administrator trust in the organization, social network variables, and individual attributes. A correlational analysis was conducted on these variables. The findings revealed a significant relationship between organizational trust and intra/inter group dynamics. Key brokers were also identified within the network, and new administrators were observed to be in a relatively poor position to receive key information and ideas across several network domains. The study reinforced that trust remains an essential element in school improvement initiatives. Policy makers and school leaders should attend to the influence of network dynamics on the operation of the leadership team.

Subject Area

Educational sociology|Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Benante, Philip John, "A Different Lens: Organizational Trust, Social Networks, and Suburban School Leadership" (2018). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10747074.