Department of Educational Administration


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of School Leadership 27:1 (January 2017), pp 31–67.


Published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission.


This mixed-method multiple case study investigated nine elementary schools. Six “odds-beating schools," which serve relatively high numbers of economically disadvantaged children, achieved higher than predicted performance on state assessments when compared with three typically performing schools. The overarching research question guiding this study was: What forces, factors, and actors account for odds-beating schools' better outcomes? The trust-communication connection provided one answer. Relational trust in odds-beating schools is an intraorganizational phenomenon, and it is accompanied by interorganizational trust (reciprocal trust). These two kinds of trust are accompanied by intraschool and district office-school communication mechanisms. Trust and communications are mutually constitutive as innovations are implemented. This connection is also an implementation outcome. When today's innovation implementation initiatives reinforce this trust–communication connection, it becomes an organizational resource for future innovation implementation.