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From Grassroots to "Need to Know": Distributed Leadership and Data Cultures in Florida's Community Colleges

Sat, April 6, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Floor: Convention Floor, Concert Hall


This multiple case study examines the ways in which academic leaders in the Florida College System (FCS) engage in distributed leadership (or participative leadership) through data-sharing with frontline academic employees. Based on focus groups and individual interviews with FCS Presidents, academic administrators, faculty, advisors, and support staff (659 participants) from 18 state colleges, we found a continuum of three data cultures ranging from grassroots data cultures to blended data cultures to ‘need to know’ data cultures. Despite evidence suggesting that data sharing improves organizational effectiveness, ‘need to know’ cultures appeared to protect already overburdened staff both from added job duties and from unflattering comparisons of campuses, units, or individuals.