In response to increasing demands placed on public education, professional learning communities (PLC) have emerged as a means of providing teachers with opportunities to collaborate together. Collaboration has been shown to improve teaching practices and lead to better student outcomes. Many collaborative teams, however, struggle to reach their collaborative potential. Trust has been shown to be an important factor contributing to the success of collaborative efforts. Few studies exist that empirically assess the relationship between team functionality and team trust. This study examines the relationship between these two constructs. A measurement tool was developed by the author to measure PLC team functionality based on five domains of functionality. Team trust was measured by a preexisting tool developed by Costa & Anderson (2010) based on four dimensions of trust. Multiple regression analyses were performed to assess the strength of the relationship between PLC team functionality and team trust. Control factors such as team stability, years of teaching, and principal support were included in the analysis. Findings showed a positive, significant relationship between the five domains of PLC team functionality and the four dimensions of team trust. While individual relationships between domains of functionality and dimensions of trust varied, between 46%-60% of variability in team functionality was explained by team trust. This study demonstrates the importance of trust in collaborative efforts of PLC teams as well as highlights a more complex relationship between the two constructs than previously understood in the literature.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Leadership and Foundations



Date Submitted


Document Type





collaboration, trust, professional learning community, team