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Cultures of Innovation and the Role of the Leader


The role of the leader in any organization is critical, but there has never been a more pivotal time than now as 21st century leaders prepare students for the future. The intersection of school culture and change leadership has been studied extensively in the change reform model, however, a small but growing body of research is now focused on cultures of innovation in schools and districts. This dissertation presents research on the vital role of the central office which has been previously understudied. This dissertation synthesizes the literature surrounding cultures of innovation as well as the role of the central office leaders. This qualitative case study presents findings underscoring and explaining the role of culture and climate in an innovative district as well as the supporting and constraining conditions and their effects. Study findings confirmed the central office is strongly poised to support cultures of innovation by 1) supporting a flatter more networked central office, 2) creating and enacting a shared vision of innovation including systems for organizational learning and efficacy and 3) most importantly, establishing a climate of trust. The findings revealed specific leadership skills for supporting the culture and climate which include building trusting relationships, enacting the vision and mission of innovation and building the capacity of other leaders. Implications for central office leaders are discussed.

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