Perceptions of New York City bilingual district directors on instructional leadership and organizational culture

Andrew Rodriguez, Fordham University


Researchers on the instructional leadership and organizational culture factors of effective schools claim that district school administrators, along with school principals, shape the district/school building's mission and goals. This investigation replicated Krug's (1989, 1992) "constructivist" perspective that maintains that a school leader's personal incentives, strength of the district culture, and job opportunities are perceived and interpreted within a school context. Constructivism views an individual's beliefs about "what he/she is doing" and "why" as major sources of the interpretations of leadership and organizational culture in the professional lives of school leaders. The perceptions and interpretations of 27 bilingual directors about the relationship between leadership and organizational culture were explored in depth. The participants represented the organizational infrastructure of 27 New York City school districts. Their interpretations were derived from the Instructional Leadership Inventory (Maehr & Ames, 1988) and Spectrum: An Organizational Development Tool (Braskamp & Maehr, 1985). Previous research on these self-report measures identified five areas of leadership: defining mission, supervising teaching, monitoring student achievement, promoting the school climate, and managing the curriculum. The Spectrum scale yielded data on the content of the school culture, personal incentives, and job opportunities, in particular, accomplishment, recognition, power, and affiliation. Both instruments were sufficiently valid and reliable to answer the research questions of this exploratory study. Findings indicated that bilingual directors were more effective in instructional leadership areas that promoted affiliation with other colleagues and the community. Statistically significant results were found for instructional leadership activities that pertained to supervising teaching, promoting school climate, and working with the community in fostering educational goals. Also, bilingual directors perceived higher job opportunities-accomplishments, personal incentives-affiliation, and job opportunities-recognition for their efforts. The older bilingual directors experienced greater satisfaction and recognition for their work, and they expressed a stronger sense of commitment to promote a positive school climate. Finally, statistically significant correlations were found for instructional leadership variables of defining mission, managing curriculum, and monitoring student progress and the organizational culture domain, personal incentives-affiliation. These recommendations were made: (1) Bilingual directors need to be recognized and rewarded for their work. (2) School districts need to assume responsibility not only for LEP student achievement but also for the professional development and recognition of bilingual directors in collaboration with other school district peers and constituencies. (3) School districts need to conduct the type of research that expands the constructivist perspective of this study, such as ethnographic studies that can lead to insights on the organizational infrastructure of New York City public schools.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education|School administration

Recommended Citation

Rodriguez, Andrew, "Perceptions of New York City bilingual district directors on instructional leadership and organizational culture" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9708253.