School of Education
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)
Professional Learning Communities, PLC, Collaboration, Trust, Relational Trust
Education | Educational Leadership
Pedersen, Theresa Ann, "Professional Learning Communities and Relational Trust: A Correlational Study" (2019). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 2016.
Professional Learning Communities (PLC) are considered best practice, but additional research was needed to examine the relationships necessary to build and sustain PLCs. The purpose of this correlational study was to determine if there is a relationship between the perceptions educators have about their PLC and the level of relational trust among its members. Scores for the analysis came from two surveys, The Professional Learning Community Assessment-Revised and The Omnibus T-Scale (Hoy & Tschannen-Moran, 2003). The sample consisted of 104 educators in 3 school districts in Iowa, Illinois, and New York; each was awarded model PLC distinction. Each teacher completed both surveys and provided additional demographic data. To examine if the dimensions of a PLC would predict the 3 elements of trust, the researcher used 3 standard multiple regressions. Descriptive statistics about the variables were calculated. Results from the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (Pearson’s r) analyses demonstrated significant correlations existed between a teacher’s understanding of the dimensions of a PLC and the three dimensions of trust. Dimensions of a professional learning community (PLC) statistically significantly predicted trust in principal, trust in colleague, and trust in stakeholders. Significant evidence allowed the researcher to reject the null hypothesis. Four variables made individual significant contributions: shared and supportive leadership, supportive conditions- relationships, shared personal practice, and collective learning and application. Building and nurturing trust among its members is key to building and sustaining effective PLCs. School or district administrators planning to develop or sustain PLCs must evaluate the key dimensions, while encouraging a culture of trust.