In response to increasing demands placed on public education, Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) 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. Trust has been shown to be an important factor contributing to the success of PLC teams. Adherence to collaborative norms is also an important factor in the ability to collaborate successfully in PLC teams, yet few studies exist that empirically assess the relationship between trust and adherence to norms regarding the collaboration process. Participants in this study are public high school teachers, grades 9–12, who on average have been working together in their current PLC team for over three and a half years. Team trust is measured by established tool developed by Costa and Anderson (2011) based upon 4 dimensions of team trust including both psychological (propensity to trust and perceived trustworthiness) and behavioral (cooperating and monitoring behaviors) dimensions. The tool used to measure adherence to PLC team norms was based upon the Meeting Inventory by Garmston and Wellman (2009) and The Collaborative PLC Norming Tool developed by Jolly (2008). These instruments were used with permission, and some survey items were generated by the author. Multiple regression analyses assessed the strength of the relationship between PLC team trust and team norms. Four dimensions of team trust were examined by confirmatory factor analyses: Propensity to Trust, Perceived Trustworthiness, Cooperating Behaviors, and Monitoring Behaviors. All 4 showed a good fit. Team adherence to 3 different types of collaborative team norms was examined by confirmatory factor analyses: Teacher Dialogue, Decision Making, and Norms of Enforcement. All 3 outcomes showed a good model fit. Findings showed gender within the norms of enforcement regression model to be the only significant demographic variable. All 4 dimensions of team trust were significantly and positively related to adherence to norms of teacher dialogue at the bivariate level. Both significant positive and negative correlations exist between dimensions of team trust. When examined collectively, Perceived Trustworthiness and Cooperating Behaviors are directly related to adherence to Teacher Dialogue norms, whereas Propensity to Trust and Monitoring Behaviors have an indirect impact. This study confirms a positive relationship between the two constructs and presents the value of both direct and indirect relationships amongst the psychological and behavioral dimensions of team trust in impacting adherence to collaborative PLC team norms. Teachers and administrators who are aiming to improve or sustain high quality collaboration within PLC teams would do well to focus on Perceived Trustworthiness and Cooperating Behaviors, as those dimensions of team trust are directly related to adherence to collaborative team norms.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





norms, collaboration, trust, professional learning community, teams