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More than Words: A Basic Interpretative Approach to Understanding Internal Accountability through Adaptive Leadership, Relational Trust, and Professional Capital Open Access

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More than Words: A Basic Interpretative Approach to Understanding Internal Accountability through Adaptive Leadership, Relational Trust, and Professional Capital There was limited knowledge about school supports and strategies for leadership, trust, and capital. The problem statement for this research inquiry was examining the deficiencies concerning the identification and characterization of internal accountability through adaptive leadership, relational trust, and professional capital. The purpose of this research inquiry was to understand the interpretation and utilization of internal accountability by secondary principals. The theoretical framework for this research study was adaptive leadership. This research inquiry described adaptive leadership as diagnosis, action, reflection, and collaboration. Research participants described the influence of adaptive leadership on their administrative procedures, behavioral structures, and instructional practices within their school community. Poole (2011) recommended the need for principals and teachers to collaborate to establish school-level practices that acknowledge federal mandates, such as Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Each concept of internal accountability has components that encourage social interactions between principals and teachers. Positive social interactions existed, within school communities that foster respect, personal regard, integrity, and competence. Professional capital was maximized when human, social, and decisional capital was enhanced. The research findings revealed two themes: (1) internal accountability required a student-centered approach with teacher supports, personalized professional development opportunities, and equitable interventions. (2) Internal accountability required collective accountability between principals and teachers. Collective accountability was demonstrated through flexible structures, clear expectations, and personal desires. These emerging themes revealed varying degrees and elements of internal accountability based on the twelve research participants’ experiences and perspectives. Similarly, the research literature demonstrated how important it is for principals to have an interest in fostering adaptive leadership, relational trust, and professional capital. The research literature and inquiry confirmed there are multiple pathways to internal accountability.

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