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Show me that you care: The existence of relational trust between a principal and teachers in an urban school
Dabney, James

2008, Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, Educational Policy and Leadership.

This dissertation explores the existence of relational trust as defined by Bryk and Schneider (2002) in an urban school with an identified effective principal. Specific attention is given to principal-teacher relationship dynamics. Bryk and Schneider (2002) posited that relational trust exists between principals and teachers when teachers feel respected as professionals by their principals, see their principals as competent school managers, perceive their school-site administrators as having integrity, and when teachers believe that their principals have a genuine interest in their personal well being.

A literature review on leadership in general, effective educational leadership, and appropriate headship for schools undergoing restructuring is presented. Moreover, included is a distinction between urban schools and their rural and suburban counterparts, highlighting the unique and complex challenges faced by students in inner-city public educational centers.


Employing a mix-method approach within a case study design, teachers completed a questionnaire on their perception of their principal. Observations were conducted for a seven month period as well as relevant documents were analyzed. Drawing from the review of the literature, survey findings, notes from observations and from the gathered relevant files, questions were developed for a teacher focus group session and a principal interview. The points made in the focus group discussion also informed the principal interview instrument. Findings revealed that teachers in the study had high relational trust in their principal and that he conveyed trustworthiness in numerous ways. Furthermore, respecting the integrity of qualitative research, other themes that substantiate the literature on effective leadership for urban education and trust establishment emerged and are discussed. The findings imply that the tenets of relational trust are viable and effective constructs that can be materialized in the behaviors of principals in urban educational districts.


Beverly Gordon, PhD (Committee Chair)
Dorinda Gallant, PhD (Committee Member)
Antionette Miranda, PhD (Committee Member)
239 p.

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Dabney, J. (2008). Show me that you care: The existence of relational trust between a principal and teachers in an urban school. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Dabney, James. "Show me that you care: The existence of relational trust between a principal and teachers in an urban school." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2008. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 01 Sep 2015.

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Dabney, James "Show me that you care: The existence of relational trust between a principal and teachers in an urban school." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2008. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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