Teachers' perception of elementary school principals' leadership styles in "under-performing" level 2 schools and "superior" level 5 schools in Mississipp
Powe, Rhonda Deloise
AdvisorOkojie, C. Mabel
The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine how participants perceived their principal's leadership style and whether differences existed in their perceptions based on the demographic variables of age, gender, experience, education attainment and ethnicity. Transformational leaders were considered influential, change agents who motivated teachers to work collaboratively as a team to achieve defined goals. These leaders developed personal relationships and focused on increasing teachers' basic needs and developing them into leaders. On the other hand, transactional leaders were considered the status quo. These leaders developed impersonal relationships and motivated teachers according to their personal self-interest. They focused on social and economic exchanges, using contingent rewards to reinforce positive behaviors and administered punishment to reform negative behaviors. One-hundred and thirteen participants from six elementary schools participated in this study. The Multi-Leadership Questionnaire was used to collect data. Cronbach alpha was used to establish internal reliability consistency of the instrument. The data was analyzed using mean scores, percentages, chi-square, t-test and ANOVA. The research findings indicated that perception scores at both school levels were higher for transformational leadership than transactional leadership. According to the mean score interpretation (Table 2) and the participant's mean scores, 92.9% of participants perceived their principal as fairly often a transformational leader and 7.1% perceived their principal as frequently a transformational leader. Ironically, 100% of participants perceived their principal as sometimes a transactional leader. The research findings indicated that overall, teachers at both levels perceived their principal as fairly often a transformational leader and sometimes a transactional leader. Based on the demographic findings, an ANOVA revealed statistically significant differences in teachers' perceptions of their principal's transformational leadership style based on years of experience. Participants with more years of experience perceived their principal with significant higher mean scores than those with fewer years of experience. Recommendations included: (a) conducting further research to determine the impact that principals' leadership style have on student performance from a national perspective, (b) conducting a Longitudinal Research study to determine the impact that leadership styles have on student performance, and (c) exploring leadership styles extensively to identify the various leadership traits exhibited by both public and private elementary school principals.