Date of Award

Summer 5-18-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Greenberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Carol Riley

Third Advisor

Dr. Marilyn Saucedo


Purpose: The purpose of this mixed methods explanatory study was to identify and describe factors of risk-taking behavior among Riverside County Professional Learning Community (PLC) middle school teachers. It elicited teacher perspectives of a psychologically safe PLC that promotes risk-taking. Additionally, it sought to identify factors that increase psychological safety in a PLC.

Methodology: This mixed methods study uses a sequential explanatory 2-step process to produce results. The quantitative-qualitative study started with a quantitative survey that collected and analyzed numerical data on levels of risk among the population. Qualitative interviews provided context and further explanation on the methods to foster risk-taking among group members.

Findings: The study revealed that middle school PLC teachers perceive that there is a supportive environment for risk-taking. However, risk-taking creates anxiety because of personality driven conflicts and lack of recognized contributions to the PLC. Identified factors that influence risk-taking are increased awareness of psychological safety, a learner’s mindset among team members, and a designated facilitator that is focused on team development.

Conclusions: The conclusions from this study suggested that PLC environments are systematically healthy for psychological safety. PLC teams must focus on team development in order to encourage risk-taking within the group. Conflict resolution efforts must be put in place for the team to produce effective work for student outcomes.

Recommendations: Further research should include a correlation study to look at the levels of psychological safety among middle school teachers and identify specific variables that increase the psychological safety among them. A replication study of this mixed methods explanatory study should identify and describe levels of psychological safety among teachers and PLCs at different educational levels (K-5, 9-12, and postsecondary). A correlation study must be conducted to identify the relationship that exists between conflict resolution and levels of risk-taking. Another recommendation is a case study to identify and explore the relationship between psychological safety and performance. A phenomenological study should be performed which describes the institution of psychological safety within its PLC.