Trust in Principals
- Merve Zayim-KurtayMerve Zayim-KurtayVrije Universiteit Brussel
Trust is generally considered as the basis of relationships between major school stakeholders and contributes not only to productive attitudes and behaviors but also to the accomplishment of collective goals. The principal is the key person in creating the atmosphere and the conditions conducive to trust in which trust-based relationships among school constituencies can flourish. Specifically, school culture characterized by collegiality, professionalism, and consideration generally leads to higher trust in the principal if consistently supported by trustworthy behaviors of the principal. This brings several benefits to and desirable outcomes for school organizations, employees, and eventually students. Collaborative culture, organizational justice, teacher professionalism, job satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behaviors, with reduced burnout, is by no means an exhaustive list of positive organizational and work-related outcomes. Moreover, trust in the principal plays an essential role in the thorough and smooth implementation of educational changes and better student outcomes. However, trust in the principal is still an underexplored area of research. In addition to reliance on simpler correlational methods and cross-sectional data, which fall short of demonstrating multiple mechanisms that create and sustain trust in the principal, possible moderating roles of school characteristics have not received enough attention. Also, teachers are the primary focus of trust studies whereas parents’ and students’ perspectives have been generally overlooked. Thus, both theoretical and methodological shortcomings call for further studies about trust in the principal in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding across different school settings.