PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to investigate how school principals’ leadership competence is enhanced by participation in municipal school district leader teams in the Norwegian context.Design/methodology/approachThe study investigated a field sample of 854 school principals working in 252 municipal school leader teams. Hypotheses were developed and tested by using multiple regressions and structural equation modeling; whereas individual- and group-level effects were tested using a hierarchical linear modeling approach. Moderator analyses where undertaken.FindingsThe results indicate that a supportive group climate in school leader teams is the strongest predictor of the principals’ learning outcomes. Moreover, trust to the superintendent and having a competent municipal school owner apparatus also predicted this form of professional development. Moderator analysis provides supplementary insights by showing that the positive effect of a trusting relationship to superintendents is contingent of a competent school owner.Research limitations/implicationsThe study reinforces the crucial importance of school superintendents creating a supportive and risk-free learning climate within their team of school leaders. The study underscores the importance of a competent school owner in Norwegian municipalities and the study places emphasis on a trusting relationship between school principals and their immediate superintendent.Practical implicationsThe study highlights the importance that school district administrators develop municipal school leader teams toward effective learning system through internal competence development and a supportive group climate.Originality/valueThe study provides empirical evidence regarding the complex dynamics involved in the professional development of school principals in district leadership teams.
International Journal of Educational Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 8, 2019