Intra- and Inter- School Interactions about Instruction: Exploring the Conditions for Social Capital Development
PublisherThe University of Chicago Press
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Understanding those factors associated with the existence of a tie among school staff is important because such ties are a necessary condition for social capital. Yet, there is a dearth of research on those factors associated with the existence of these ties. In this paper, we use covariate blockmodels and a p2 model to examine the role of both formal organizational structures and individual characteristics in shaping advice and information interactions about instruction within and between schools. Our findings suggest that, while individual characteristics are significantly associated with having a within school tie, aspects of the formal school organization—gradelevel assignment, having a formally designated leadership position, and teaching a single grade—are also significant and have larger estimated effects than individual characteristics. With respect to between school ties, we similarly found that the formal organization superseded individual characteristics, and that having a subject-specific formal leadership position, more than anything, predicted instructional advice and information ties. In addition, our analysis of interview data supports and extends these findings by showing that school staff associate formal positions with instructional expertise in subject-specific domains and that formal positions work in tandem with other aspects of the organizational infrastructure such as organizational routines to influence school staff members’ interactions about instruction.