Date of Award



© 2020 Eric K. Johnson

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Brianna Parsons

Second Advisor

Cynthia Kennedy

Third Advisor

Robert Sims


This qualitative instrumental case study explored the influence of national culture within the context of professional learning communities (PLCs) at an international school. This study utilized Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory as the theoretical framework and drew from DuFour and Eaker’s characteristics of effective PLCs. This instrumental case study focused on one international school located in the European Union. The purpose was to engage international teachers who take part in weekly PLC meetings through a demographic questionnaire, one-on-one interviews and direct observation, in order to develop a better understanding of the influence of culture within those meetings. The study addressed two research questions: (1) what characteristics of professional learning communities, as defined by DuFour and Eaker (1998), are influenced by international teachers’ cultural values identified in Hofstede’s (2001) cultural dimensions theory? And (2) what strategies can K-12 teachers employ to better facilitate the functionality and effectiveness of an intercultural PLC at an international school? Participants of this study included ten teachers who represented four different cultures: (1) American (2) Canadian (3) French (4) Polish. Data was collected using a demographic questionnaire, one-on-one interviews, and direct observations. Holistic coding and values coding adapted a thematic analysis method and produced four themes and four subthemes, which were merged to present the findings. The themes presented in the findings were: an unclear mission, no direction, and a lack of buy-in, the change process and elicited emotions, leadership structure, and collaboration, communication, and trust. Recommendations from the findings and conclusions of this study include building on existing knowledge and structures, developing long- and short-term goals, clarifying leadership structure, and creating processes for monitoring.


Ed.D. Dissertation