Staff- and school-level predictors of school organizational health: a multilevel analysis

BACKGROUND: An organizationally healthy school environment is associated with favorable student and staff outcomes and thus is often targeted by school improvement initiatives. However, few studies have differentiated staff-level from school-level predictors of organizational health. Social disorganization theory suggests that school-level factors, such as faculty turnover, student mobility, and concentration of student poverty, would be negatively associated with school organizational health, but these relationships may be moderated by staff-level factors. METHODS: The present study examined the association among school- and staff-level predictors of staff-perceived school organizational health (eg, academic emphasis, collegial leadership, and staff affiliation), as measured by the Organizational Health Inventory. RESULTS: Multilevel analyses on data from 1395 staff across 37 elementary schools indicated that school membership accounted for between 26% and 35% of the variance in different components of staff-perceived organizational health. Two-level hierarchical analyses indicated that both school- and staff-level characteristics are important predictors of organizational health. Furthermore, some school and staff characteristics interacted to predict staff affiliation and collegial leadership. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that factors at both the school and staff level are important potential targets for school improvement. Administrators aiming to improve relationships among staff members should be cognizant of staff-level characteristics (race, age, and role in school) associated with less favorable perceptions of the school environment, whereas efforts to enhance student work ethic and discipline should target schools with specific school-level characteristics (high rates of faculty turnover and student mobility).