Educational Administration, Department of


First Advisor

Dr. Jiangang Xia

Date of this Version



Evertson, D. W. (2020). The Influence of Principal Leadership on Teacher Collaboration: Does Effective Professional Development Mediate this Effect?


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education, Major: Educational Administration, Under the Supervision of Professor Jiangang Xia. Lincoln, Nebraska: March, 2020

Copyright 2020 David W. Evertson


School leadership has been a topic of empirical, quantitative study for nearly four decades, and in that time a great deal has been discovered about the strategies and mechanisms through which effective leadership acts. In its modern conceptualization, leadership is seen as an organizational construct, not centered on single individuals but rather as leadership activity stretched across leaders, followers and the situation which exists in the organization. Nevertheless, principals continue to play a central role in leadership activity, and their actions, behaviors, and strategies significantly influence school effectiveness and improvement efforts.

Research clearly demonstrates that positive teacher collaboration is an important element in both improvement efforts and in building instructional capacity. In their central role as formal leaders, principals influence both the opportunity and effectiveness of teacher collaboration within their schools. Professional learning communities of teachers have been demonstrated to provide ideal opportunities for teachers to learn collaboratively, develop common goals intended to improve student outcomes, and to work cooperatively as leaders to increase the effectiveness of their schools.

This study employed a multilevel structural equation modeling approach, using data from the United States administration of the 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) developed by OECD, to quantitatively investigate the influence of principal instructional leadership and teacher-learning based professional development on the levels of teacher collaboration within United States schools. The results indicate that principal instructional leadership significantly and positively influences teacher collaboration, though indirectly, through their support of teacher-learning based professional development. This finding encourages principals to develop and support school structures and mechanisms which encourage teacher-learning based professional development and increased teacher collaboration. This study also concludes that future studies should investigate more fully the conceptualization of teacher professional development and teacher collaboration as shared, school-level constructs.

Adviser: Dr. Jiangang Xia