Ties With Potential: Social Network Structure and Innovative Climate in Dutch Schools
by Nienke M. Moolenaar, Alan J. Daly & Peter J. C. Sleegers - 2011
Background/Context: Similar to the United States, government efforts to improve education in the Netherlands are focused on innovation and the development of collaborative structures to support the generation of new knowledge. However, empirical evidence of the relationship between social linkages and innovation in education is scarce.
Objective: The aim of the study was to examine the impact of social network structure on schools’ innovative climate, as mediated by teachers’ involvement in decision-making.
Setting: This article reports on a study among 775 educators in 53 elementary schools in a large educational system in the Netherlands.
Research Design: A quantitative survey using Likert-type scales and social network questions on work-related and personal advice was analyzed using social network analysis and multiple regression analyses.
Conclusions/Recommendations: Findings indicated that the more densely connected teachers were in regard to work-related and personal advice, the more they perceived their schools’ climate to be supportive of innovation. Highly dense work-related network structures also typified teams that perceived strong teacher involvement in decision-making. Moreover, results suggested that the positive relationship between density of work-related advice networks and innovation-supportive school climate could be partially explained by increased shared decision-making. Implications of the study for teachers, organizations, leadership, and policy are discussed.
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