SUPERINTENDENT DECISION MAKING AND COMMUNICATION PRACTICES IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND SOCIAL NETWORKING Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
Creator
  • Aiken, Charles
    • Affiliation: School of Education
Abstract
  • "Social media is...transforming people from content readers into publishers. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism, one-to-many, to a many-to-many model, rooted in conversations between authors, people, and peers" (Cox, 2013, pp. 8). Through social networking and social media, information can be shared immediately in a way that makes control of the news cycle impossible for educational leaders. Superintendents now operate in an environment where the general public, and district employees, no longer simply wait for television, radio stations, or newspapers to provide information in a one-way basis. Superintendents work with a labor force and community that is becoming technology dependent and demanding an interactive role with leaders. The purpose of this research was to examine the impact of social media and social networking on the decision making process of superintendents and their approach to communication. Research was conducted utilizing Philip Wood's (2005) framework of democratic leadership, which provides a theoretical perspective on democratic leadership in education, and the North Carolina Superintendent Evaluation, which provides a rubric for observable behaviors expected of district leaders. Using an exploratory approach, the study was conducted through an online survey distributed to North Carolina Superintendents with both open-ended and Likert scale questions. Superintendents responded to questions regarding district demographic data, their personal and professional use of social media, perspectives on the use of social media as part of a communication strategy, and experiences with social media when used by district staff members or the public to express opposition to district policies. The results demonstrate superintendents do not appear to use social media and social networking tools to develop the two-way communication practices increasingly required by the public. The disconnect, between a superintendent's use of social media and the public's use, has ramifications for future reform efforts, professional advocacy, and access to resources in an increasingly competitive environment. The data indicate current and future superintendents need support in learning and applying the strategic capabilities of social media and social networking. Social media and social networking have greatly increased the capacity to effectively craft, frame, and broadcast information, but have also magnified the potential pitfalls.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Veitch, James
  • English, Fenwick
  • Schainker, Stanley
Degree
  • Doctor of Education
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education
Graduation year
  • 2015
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
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