Date of Award

Fall 12-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Educational Leadership

Committee Director

Karen L. Sanzo

Committee Member

Rachel S. White

Committee Member

Charles B. Daniels


Students today require skills and dispositions different from those of the past. Despite ongoing efforts to initiate change in schools through reform efforts, little has changed within educational institutions. Current reform efforts do, however, create conditions for principals to lead disruptive innovation within their schools. Research is limited on innovation implementation in education and the various ways isomorphic forces may hinder or contribute to the design and adoption of disruptive innovations. The purpose of this study was to examine how high school principals lead disruptive innovation. Additionally, this study sought to understand how the mechanisms of isomorphism influence the adoption of disruptive education innovations in education.

The findings from this study reveal that sources of disruptive innovation motivation can be internal or external. Sources of motivation were found to correlate with organizational structure. Additionally, constructs of modern institutional theory were confirmed as findings supported a bidirectional influence between organizations and the greater organizational field. Finally, the relationship between principal and principal’s supervisor was identified as having a varied influence. A positive relationship was found to encourage both internally and externally motivated disruptive innovations, while a negative relationship was found to have little to no impact on the implementation of internally motivated disruptive innovations.