Secondary Education Teachers
To examine how well the six disciplines of credibility (Kouzes & Posner's,
1993) serves as a framework for understanding the behaviors of informal teacher leaders,
and to identify what organizational factors facilitate or impede the exercise of informal
A single site descriptive case study was chosen (Boylston Public
School system, Connecticut, and subunits of analysis consisted of five elementary schools
within the system). Data were gathered by 15 informal teacher leaders, the 15 nominating
staff, and 75 constituents. In addition to the LPI, respondents completed the author's
Organizational Conditions Data Form (OCDF). The informal teacher leaders were mostly
female (N=13), all but one were married, the majority had graduate degrees, with one
exception all had 10+ years of teaching experience.
Informal teacher leaders perceive that they engage in challenging,
inspiring, enabling, modeling and encouraging; falling within the moderate range for each
leadership practice. Based upon LPI-Other scores, and interviews with the nominators,
informal teacher leaders were also seen as engaging in challenging, inspiring, enabling,
modeling and encouraging very significantly (much more than that reported from the
informal teacher leaders): "The constituent groups have a higher estimate of the teachers'
credibility behaviors than the teacher leaders have themselves, regardless of the particular
leadership behavior. This finding suggests that while the teacher leaders exhibited these
behaviors, they may not be deliberately using each behavior. Perhaps their leadership
tendencies are behaviors that occur naturally to them in their daily work. Moreover, since
the teacher leaders are not in a formal leadership position, they may not be aware of their
leadership behaviors or the influence of these behaviors on the constituent groups" (pp.
The greatest agreement between the two groups was for enabling, and inspiring was
the leadership practice with the least agreement. "Both informal teacher leaders and their
constituents identified the leadership practices [Kouzes & Posner] as authentic descriptors
of informal teacher leadership behaviors" (p. 127).
On the OCDF, each school had existing organizational conditions that were found
to support informal teacher leadership (e.g., principal support and access to information)
and organizational conditions that by their absence impeded teacher leadership (e.g., collegial support, clearly defined role, specified incentives, in-service training, time for
collegial exchange, union support, reduced teaching loads, and district support).