Date of Award

Fall 10-25-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Daniel Gutmore, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Martin Finkelstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dennis Copeland, Ed.D.


Distributive Leadership, Middle School, Principal, School Culture, Teacher Self-Efficacy, Middle School Leadership


Recent and established research continues to demonstrate the need for school leaders to adapt their leadership practices to reflect the increasing demands associated with their role. This is particularly true for principals of large middle schools. Through the implementation of a distributive leadership framework, a principal can share responsibilities with qualified staff while promoting an institution-wide culture of trust that empowers teachers.

The purpose of this correlational, quantitative research study was to examine the extent to which relationships exist between distributed leadership, school culture, and the self-efficacy of teachers within public middle schools in central New Jersey. This study was informed by Spillane’s and Elmore’s theoretical frameworks concerning distributed leadership, Bolman and Deal’s framework concerning school culture, and Bandura’s framework for self-efficacy. This study’s sample was 162 certified middle school teachers from five middle schools in central New Jersey. Each participating teacher completed a 73 question survey that gathered data on distributed leadership practices within their school, their school culture, and their view of their own self-efficacy. This quantitative data was collected utilizing the following three survey instruments: the Distributive Leadership Inventory (DLI), the School Culture Survey (SCS), and the Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale (TSES). Basic demographic information was also collected from the respondents.

This study identified significant relationships between distributed leadership, school culture, and teacher self-efficacy. These results indicate the need for school leadership to adopt a holistic framework for leading large complex organizations such as middle schools. Within the current educational environment, it is essential for principals to understand and recognize the need for both formal and informal leaders within a school. Research has shown that successful school leaders create structures that encourage these formal and informal leaders to work collaboratively and build upon each other’s contributions to best practice in leadership and instruction. The implications of these findings, limitations of the study, and a suggested direction for future research on the relationships between distributive leadership, school culture, and teacher self-efficacy are also discussed.