Predicting school innovation. The role of collective efficacy and academic press mediated by faculty trust

Publication Date23 December 2019
Date23 December 2019
AuthorNitza Schwabsky,Ufuk Erdogan,Megan Tschannen-Moran
SubjectEducation,Administration & policy in education,School administration/policy,Educational administration,Leadership in education
Predicting school innovation
The role of collective efficacy and academic
press mediated by faculty trust
Nitza Schwabsky
Department of Educational Leadership and Administration,
Gordon College of Education, Haifa, Israel
Ufuk Erdogan
Department of Educational Administration and Leadership,
Fırat University, Elazig, Turkey, and
Megan Tschannen-Moran
School of Education, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of collective teacher efficacy, academicpress and
faculty trust, all of which are components of academic optimism (AO), in predicting school innovation. In
addition, the authors explored the extent to which faculty trust mediates the association between collective
teacher efficacy and academic press with school innovation.
Design/methodology/approach In all, 1,009 teachers from 79 schools in Northern Israel completed
anonymous questionnaires about AO and innovation. Aggregation, descriptive statistics, bivariate
correlation analyses and mediation analysis were performed to analyze the data.
Findings Results showed that the components of AO, i.e., collective teacher efficacy, academic press and
trust, were positively correlated to school innovation, and that trust mediated the relationship between
collective teacher efficacy and school innovation. The study results confirmed that AO holds a significant
predictive value in school innovation and highlights the importance of trust in supporting innovation.
Practical implications As school leaders are challenged to foster innovative new practices in their
schools, the findings suggest that they will need to know how to cultivate collective teacher efficacy, academic
press and faculty trust.
Originality/value This is the first study to examine the role of the components of AO in predicting
innovation. By using a robust sample, the authors were able to examine the proposed school-level model with
respect to the factors that affect school innovation. Originality also lies in the organizational approach to
educational innovation in relation to facultys beliefs and behaviors.
Keywords Academic optimism, Academic press, Collective teacher efficacy, School innovation,
Paper type Research paper
In a rapidly changing world, the model of education that schools have followed must
change to prepare students to be conscious citizens and critical consumers. For schools to
make the necessary changes, they must be open to innovation. And yet, we know little about
the conditions that foster a spirit of innovation. School innovation, as used in this study,
refers to the educational organizations tendency to engage in and support new ideas,
experimentation, novelty and creative processes that may result in change initiatives
such as new programs, services or technological processes (Garcia and Calantone, 2002;
Serdyukov, 2017; Subramanian and Nilakanta, 1996).
In a world where accountability and standardized testing have become central aspects of
schooling and competition among schools is common, innovation has become a strategy for
achieving a competitive advantage (Schwabsky, 2018; Tubin,2009). Because innovation, to be
effective, must operate at the collective level (Serdyukov, 2017) and because innovative
schools have been found to be characterized by greater social cohesion among teachers and
Journal of Educational
Vol. 58 No. 2, 2020
pp. 246-262
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/JEA-02-2019-0029
Received 25 February 2019
Revised 6 August 2019
9 November 2019
24 November 2019
Accepted 27 November 2019
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
less strain (Gilad-Hai and Somech, 2016) as well as by trust, friendship and closeness
(Tubin, 2009),we set out to explore the extent to whichseveral positive school characteristics
may affect school innovation at the organizational level. The purpose of the study is
consequently to expand the existing knowledge regarding aspects of educational innovation
by examining the role of collective teacher efficacy, academic press, and faculty trust in
predicting school innovation. These three constructs are components of the composite
measure referred to as academic optimism (AO) (Hoy et al., 2006), a latent collective school
property, which is rooted in the research of positive psychology, humanistic psychology,
social cognitive and self-efficacy (Beard et al., 2010; Hoy et al., 2006; Hoy, 2012).
The study also aimsto examine the extent to which facultytrust mediates the association
between both teacherscollective efficacy and academic press in explaining organizational
innovation in schools. Compared with collective efficacy and academic press, trust is a social
resource that plays a key role in obtaining valued future outcomes (Goddard et al., 2001).
Following Goddard et al., we argue that an enriched understanding of school effectiveness
should include a focus on the way trust may influence important school outcomes and
contexts, in this case, school innovation. Greater levels of faculty trust have previously been
found to affect important organizational-level consequences such as enhanced social support
for innovation( Brykand Schneider, 2002; Goddard et al., 2001).Because we used a mediation
analysis to examinethe association between the dimensionsof AO and school innovation and
because we have a special interest in trust, we set out to examine whether the relationships
between collective efficacy and academic press with school innovation were mediated by the
level of faculty trust.Our interest in trust stems in part from a perceptionof a decline in trust
in many westernsocieties and the potential for thisdecline to have a deleterious effecton other
valued outcomessuch as innovation. One particulararea in which we see growing distrustin
schools manifestin the policy realm is the insistenceon rigorous high-stakes testingregimes.
The fear generated by these testing regimes may narrow the focus of educators and work
against innovation. We believe that understanding the extent to which the AO dimension
constructs contribute to a climate of school innovation may enable principals to foster
innovation intheir schools through a focus on collective teacher efficacy, academic press,and
faculty trust.
Literature review
The extent to which an organization (here, a school) can be perceived as innovative is
circumscribedby its culture (Dobni, 2008).Organizational culturerefers to a groups overt and
covert shared norms and beliefs and the unwritten rules for getting along in the organization
(Schein,2010); thus, we hypothesizedthat teachersperceptionsof collective efficacy, academic
press, and faculty trust in clients would be positively related to school innovation.
School innovation
Global competition and complex school reforms have forced schools in the past two decades to
innovate in order to increase school effectiveness (Gilad-Hai and Somech, 2016) and gain an edge
when compared with other schools and educational organizations. As a cultural characteristic
(Dobni, 2008), innovation has become an essential organizational strategy (Nicholls, 2018). As a
central concept of research in business and public organizations (Ruvio et al., 2014), the study of
innovation has focused on two interrelated concepts: innovation and innovativeness. Innovation
is defined as an idea, practice or object that is perceived as new by an individual or another
unit of adoption(Gopalakrishnan and Damanpour, 1997; Hult et al., 2004; Rogers, 2003;
Subramanian and Nilakanta, 1996), whereas innovativeness is defined as the number of
innovations that organizations have adopted (Garcia and Calantone, 2002; Subramanian and
Nilakanta, 1996). In this study, we use the term innovationin its generic meaning, which
Role of
efficacy and
academic press

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