The role of district leaders for organization social capital
Purpose Although it is assumed that school district governance by districts leaders can impact schools’ capacity to improvement and educational quality, there is little systematic evidence to support this claim. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how governance goals and interventions affect school districts’ social capital. Design/methodology/approach The empirical enquiry used quantitative data on district leaders enacting governance as perceived by their school principals. These data were collected among 399 school principals of 23 Dutch school districts in elementary education, using a survey. Social network data on social capital within school districts were collected using a social network survey among educational administrators (i.e. district leaders, central office administrators and school principals). Additionally, examples of the relation between school district social capital and governance at six school districts were described. Findings Results suggest that district leaders can promote the organizational social capital of their school districts through focusing on educational goals. In addition, the findings show that they can reinforce their impact by using interventions varying in coercion level, of which offering support to school principals appears to be “a golden button” to make organizational social capital thrive. Research limitations/implications Limitations to the study are the generalizability of the findings (they can be questioned because “convenience sampling” was used) and warrant a longitudinal design to examine how organization social capital develops over time. Originality/value The study is unique as it addresses the impact district leaders may have on their districts’ social capital by focusing on social network approach in the study of school district governance.