Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mitchell M. Olson


Many policymakers have sought greater levels of success in schools by implementing new and more distributive models of leadership. The problem is that many have not achieved desired outcomes. The purpose of this grounded theory study was to discover what happens within a school organization as it moves from a traditional leadership model to a district mandated distributive leadership (DL) model. DL is an egalitarian balance of leadership among multiple individuals rather than simply administrators within an organization. The method used in this study was grounded theory (GT) which was selected to illustrate events, situations, and conditions from the perspectives of teacher participants involved in the implementation of the new model. To answer the research question regarding teachers' perspectives of the DL model, a series of 30 teacher interviews were conducted; constant comparative analysis was used to develop themes and relationships. Results suggested the emergence of a theory of distributing leadership that has four main categories: building a plan, barriers, distribution, and recounting the story. Comprehensive and ongoing training was seen as the key to implementing a true and successful DL model. The theory of distributing leadership may be a useful tool for initiating and developing plans of actions for any school or district interested in implementing the DL model. Positive social change can be realized through the use of distributing leadership theory to create communities of learning and support among educational stakeholders that enhance organizational outcomes in school.