Brower, Rebecca L. and Mokher, Christine G. and Bertrand Jones, Tamara and Cox, Bradley E. and Hu, Shouping
AERA Open, 6(1), 2020
Publication year: 2020

This multiple case study examines the extent and ways in which leaders and administrators in Florida College System (FCS) institutions engage in distributed leadership through data sharing with frontline staff. Based on focus groups and individual interviews with administrators, faculty, and staff (659 participants) from 21 state colleges, we found a continuum of three data cultures ranging from democratic data cultures to blended data cultures to “need to know” data cultures. We triangulate these results with survey data from FCS institutional leaders and find considerable variation in the extent of data sharing and perceptions of effectiveness of institutional data use. Institutions with democratic data cultures tended to have distributed leadership that encouraged information sharing and collaboration among staff to use data to inform change. Need-to-know institutions faced challenges, including weak data quality, concerns about adequate time and resources among staff for reviewing data, and perceptions that staff lack data literacy skills.