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Teacher Job Satisfaction and Transformational Leadership

Info: 10181 words (41 pages) Dissertation
Published: 10th Dec 2019

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Tagged: EmploymentTeachingLeadership



The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between elementary principals leadership styles and teacher job satisfaction. The conception of leadership has been a continual occurrence throughout the ages.  For this purpose, Safferstone (2005) expressed his emotions in the terms that, “the need for leaders and leadership is a perennial subject that traces its beginnings in the Old Testament, ancient China, and 16th-century Italy” (Ardichvili & Manderscheld 2008, p. 620). The notion of defining leadership continues to advance (Avolio, 1999; Bass, 1990; de Vries, 2003; London, 2002; Safferstone, 2005; Yukl, 2002) as it continues to evolve, numerous contemporary authors have crystallized definitions of leadership, identified the need for leadership in modern organizations, documented the positive impact of effective leadership on organizational performance, and proposed leadership models and leadership development strategies. (Ardichvili & Manderscheld 2008, p. 620).).

The review of literature presents information on  (a) leadership theories (b) styles of leadership; (c) transformational leadership theory; (d) comparison of leadership styles (e) leadership in education; (f) job satisfaction; and (g) transformational leadership and job satisfaction.

Leadership Theories

Throughout the centuries defining the term of leadership is still a mystery. Even today there is not an agreed consensus on the true meaning of leadership (Counts, Farmer, & Shepard, 1995; Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2008). In an effort to fully comprehend the complication of the word leadership, Rost (1991) commented on the depth of materials that he had scrutinized during the 19th century to resolve this issue. Burns further emphasized that “leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth” (Burns 1978, p. 2).

Other scholars like Bennis (1959) who speculated, “leadership is the process by which an agent induces a subordinate to behave in a desired manner” (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2012, p. 4). Zaleznik (1992) postulated that leadership is “the power to influence the thoughts and actions of other people” (p. 126). Fiedler (1967) suggested that leadership is “directing and coordinating the work of group members” (as cited in Hughes et al., 2008, p. 4). Hersey and Blanchard (1988) argued that leadership is “the process of influencing the activities of an individual or a group in efforts toward goal achievement in a given situation” (p. 86). Merton (1957) described it as an “interpersonal relation in which others comply because they want to, not because they have to” (as cited in Hughes et al., 2008, p. 4). Burns (1978) stated leadership is “a mutual influence process grounded in shared perceptions of followers” (p. 126). Maxwell (2007) straightforwardly stated that leadership is an influence. Daft and Lane (2008) declared leadership to “involves the influence of people to bring about change toward a desirable future” (p. 5). Researchers portrayed that the components of leadership are depicted as seen in Figure 2.

In the diagram, a leader is seen as someone who projects influence over his followers to accomplish a unified purpose with the ultimatum for change. Daft and Lane (2008) argued that when the leader models the organizational goals and expectations it sets the pendulum in the motion of what is expected from its followers.



Figure 2: Leadership elements. From The Leadership Experience (p. 5), by R. L. Daft and P.  G. Lane, 2008, Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western.

As mentioned earlier, academic scholars started to examine different leadership styles. They were able to confirm that some groups of styles had greater success than other groups. Eventually, leadership theories were expanded by increased performances and collaboration among a variety of groups. Researchers like Burns (1978), followed by Bass (1985), classified three groups of leadership. These are transactional leadership, transformational leadership, and laissez-faire leadership. The following section provides further information regarding the three types of leadership styles.


Styles of Leadership

Leadership can be described as an apparent sequence of patterns that an individual display in an attempt to manipulate the actions of others (Hersey & Blanchard, 1996). The literature review will examine the three types of leadership styles: transformational transactional, and laissez-faire leadership.

Transactional Leadership

Burns (1978) model brought ripeness to the transactional leadership style. His studies advocated that in transactional leadership, the leader provided incentives to followers when expectations are met, or provided consequences for underperformances. According to Burn (1978), transactional leaders are involved in a bartering system, whereby gifts are exchanged in returns for favors. This type of relationship is prevalent between the leaders and the followers. This type of leadership has a common thread as seen in politicians who will publicize favors in returns for votes. Grint (1997) argued that for transactional leaders to be effective they must possess confidence in their authority.

Researchers like Burns (1978) examined both styles of leadership (transactional and transformational) from different aspects, while Bass (1985, 1997) both styles of leadership to be essential. Bass’s (1985) established three factors that were associated with transactional leadership: (a) contingent rewards, (b) management by exception-active, and (c) management by exception-passive. In the first factor, Bass (1985) commented that the leader of this position and authority initiated contingent reward over his followers. Studies conducted by scholars (Goodwin, Wofford, & Whittington, 2001) confirmed that when the leaders complemented their followers with praises this produces a psychological result that is consistent with contingent reward evident in transformational leadership. Bass (1997) examined the second factor of transactional leadership that was referred to as management by exception-active. This is a period of time that the leader observes the follower meticulously to identify weaknesses in performances and correction is done punitively (Barbuto, 2005).

The third factor, which is management by exception-passive, the leader only acts when the problems are obvious and seek to implement punitive measures with the follower (Bass, Avolio, Jung, & Berson, 2003; Hinkin & Schriesheim, 2008). This leadership style focuses primarily on intimidation methods and less on the individual. Bass (1985) concluded that such leaders are more policy-driven rather than people driven.

Transformational Leadership

This type of leadership was founded on the studies of a German sociologist Max Weber (1947) who intentionally studied other topics including the effects of charismatic leaders. Burns (1978) worked to develop the transformational leadership model, where both leaders and followers are involved in a shared purpose of building each another to greater levels. The transformational leadership was developed by Bass (1985), to which he further brought awareness to this model of leadership. He described it in relation to the effects the leader had upon his followers in the areas of approval, self- esteem, and beliefs. Initially, Burns (1978) viewed transformational leadership as connected to motivational goals and openness to changes.

The transformational leader realigns its goals, mission, and vision from the swapping of gifts to its followers (Howell & Avolio, 1993). The team takes priority and the leader disregard self-interest. The transformational leader stimulates its followers to perform at levels that surpass expectations and executing plans by being transparent (Burns, 1978; Flood et al., 2000). Realistically, transformational leaders focus and participate in activities grounded in beliefs, principles, and goals. This level of boldness increases the morals of everyone involved (Bass, 1985; Flood et al., 2000). Initiatives that promote relationship and supports positive changes within the organization are highly valued.

Scholars like Bass (1985) and Bass et al. (2003) identified three ways the transformational leader inspires its followers. The leader would educate the followers on the importance of their commitment to the tasks they have been assigned. In the transactional model, followers were rewarded for task completed. In transformational leadership, the importance of their job assignment motivates the followers, recognizing the importance of their contribution to the organization. Secondly, transformational leaders place emphasis on getting the follower to focus primarily on the organizational goals, then their personal interests. Finally, the transformational leader supports and encourages the followers’ higher-order demands. The three areas addressed are undeniably important to the transformational leadership because it skillfully brings about deep-rooted changes in the organization that requires complete participation throughout the entity (London, 2002; Oke, Munshi, & Walumbwa, 2009).

(Bass & Avolio, 2004) disclosed that there are four dimensions of leadership styles that are associated with Bass’s theory of transformational leadership namely: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration.

Idealized Influence. Transformational leaders are seen as faultless leaders who exercise power and influence over the people they lead. Overall idealized influence embodies the development in motivation and inspiration between the leaders and the followers. When the leader is seen as an individual who possesses power, charisma, poised and confident, these qualities are referred to as idealized influence (attributed) according to (Bass & Riggio, 2006). Idealized influence (behaviors) is those actions exhibited by the leader such as ethics and charisma that appeals to the followers and earn their leaders’ respect.

Inspirational Motivation. Transformational leaders are proficient in creating a vision that positively impacts the followers and produces favorable outcomes that motivate them to strive harder to meet their goals. The leader encourages and recognizes those who go above and beyond than what is required, creating a situation whereby the followers strive for higher expectations and performance levels.

Intellectual Stimulation. Besides inspiring and motivating the followers, transformational leaders allow for intellectual motivation and inspiration of others (Bass & Avolio, 2004). Associates are inspired to be creative and produce ideas that may be considered provocative without any retaliation. The associates are encouraged to engage in questioning and brainstorming and apply out of the norm techniques to meet their needs (Barbuto, 2005). This type of critical thinking allows freedom and creativity and could not be achievable with transactional leadership style.

Individualized Consideration. It is the responsibility of the leader to provide untiring support to its followers as needs and as necessary. In the capacity of being a coach or offering mentorship, but at the same time respecting each individual and indulging and encouraging in each person with their personal goals, dreams, and aspirations. The tendency exists that people are treated in accordance with their abilities, knowledge, and gifts (Shin & Zhou, 2003). The goal is for the leader to engage in coaching and counseling to assist individuals in developing to their complete potentials (Bass & Avolio, 2004).

Laissez-faire Leadership

This style of leadership contradicts transactional and transformational and is often referred to as the “hands-off” leadership style. The leader engages with little or in some cases nothing to motivate the associate. This type of leadership works better in a situation where the follower is self-motivated, highly talented and excels. In this model of leadership, the followers take the lead. Additionally, this is the least studied leadership style (Hinkin & Schriesheim, 2008; Judge & Piccolo, 2004).

Laissez-faire leaders do not actively get involved in their supervisory roles. The associates are expected to outline their own goals, provide the resources necessary to meet their goals, and have little involvement in the overall process. The leader serves solely as a channel of information. This leadership style includes actions by the leader that will not create or influence change within the organization (Bass, 1981).

Schilling (2009) stated that laissez-faire leadership styles are considered unproductive. Harrison and Murray (2012) added that laissez-faire leaders

used position to advance personal career or agenda; (had a) big ego, dictatorial (reported by some); (were) introverted, nice, well-meaning but not able to inspire others; (were) uncomfortable in leadership position, reactive; inactive, responded aggressively to issues; avoided issues altogether, vacillated; took different positions depending on who he/she spoke to last, and created or avoided conflict. (p. 423)

The characteristics of the laissez-faire leader are inferiority work quality, a decreased sense of satisfaction, and a lack of leadership, evading organizational issues, deficiencies, and lack of accessibility. This leadership style requires associates to be more effective, better organized with greater structure, reliability, and dependability.

The previous section addressed the review literature as it relates to leadership concepts and theories, and the different styles of leadership such as transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire. The next section provides an overview of transformational leadership theory.

Transformational Leadership Theory

Considering the different types of leadership, transformational leadership has been one style of leadership that has been thoroughly researched and examined. Bennis (1959) introduced the concept of transformational leadership as someone who motivates and inspires others to work at higher levels. Burns (1978). The transformational leadership model was introduced by Burns (1978) it was intended that the leaders and the followers will work together to achieve higher self-esteem and inspiration. Burns identified the challenges between management and leadership and associated it with characteristics and behaviors. Burns further added that transformational approach produces meaningful changes in both people and organization. The redesigned structure offered insights and principles that motivated employees. Unlike transactional leadership, that was based on a reward system with the leader’s ability to create change.

The transformational leadership model that Burns promoted was originated from Maslow’s Theory of Human Needs that emphasized the wide range of needs that was required for self-fulfillment by the followers. The transformational leadership model is connected to the needs of humans that required the transformational leader to promote higher-level needs of self-esteem and self-actualization of the followers (Burns, 1978).

Bass (1985) modified Burns’ work by extending definition into a two-factor theory. This theory placed both transformation and transactional leadership at different ends of the leadership range. Bass argued that a leader could either be transformational and transactional concurrently thus complementing both styles of leadership. Recently, Leithwood (1994) further amended the transformational leadership theory. His revised model identified specific features that encompassed the model of transformational leadership. Leithwood’s model evolved around a shared vision, promoting the goals of the group, providing support, promoting desired outcomes, and setting high expectations.

Two-Factory Theory of Transformational Leadership

Burns’ (1978) transformational leadership model was revised by Bass (1985) model.  The revision to this model was referred to as the two-factor theory. Meaning that the model combined both transformational and transactional leadership styles. Bass (1985) claimed that both transformational and transactional leaders promoted motivational and inspirational to their followers that brought changes that lead to effective and efficient operation service of the organization. Leaders of both groups work cohesively to ensure that the organization needs are met consistently.

On one end of the spectrum is (transactional) leadership with its three dimensions namely: contingent reward; management-by-exception; and laissez-faire. Transactional followers foster the maintenance of the daily task. On the other end of the spectrum is (transformational) leadership that is critical in promoting and implementing needed changes within the organization (Leithwood, Tomlinson, & Genge, 1996).

Bass (1985) characterized his revised model of transformational leadership into four qualities: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, individual consideration, and intellectual stimulation. Bass asserted that through the concept of idealized influence, transformational leaders integrate charisma and inspiration as a means to communicate the organizational vision and establish a strong school culture.

According to (Bass and Steidlmeier, 1999; Bass, 1985) the revised model of transformational leadership encompassed the 4I’s: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration.



Comparing Leadership Styles

In the last two decades, scholars on transformational and transactional leadership theory have undertaken substantial amounts of research. In Burns (1978) studies involving treatment of political leadership, the concept of transformational and transactional leadership was first born. Conger and Kanungo (1998) compared and contrast the leadership styles and described how both the leaders and followers resolve their differences. Transformational leaders focus on higher order intrinsic needs such as (the desire and motivation to perform the specific task) and provide for followers to excel on short-term goals, whilst transactional leaders focus on the exchange of gifts. In transformational leadership, the followers are aware of the goals and direction of the leader, while the transactional leader is prepared to hand over something that is needed by the follower in return for something the leader needs (Kuhnert & Lewis, 1987).

As the transactional leadership manages the current situation surrounding the organization, transformational leaders are ahead of their game, planning towards the direction the organization is aiming for. Strategic planning is done to ensure that employees are aware of the vision and strategizes on how to get everyone onboard (Avolio, Waldman, & Yammarino, 1991; Pawar & Eastman, 1997; Tichey & Devanna, 1986). Burns (1978) commented that the transformational leader expects the followers to set and achieve high outcomes (Russell, & Patterson, 2005). According to Stone and Patterson, it was Bass and Avolio (1988) that concluded that transformational leadership is more closely related to the “ne plus ultra” that is envisioned when portraying the characteristics of a model leader that the subordinates desire to associate with (Stone & Peterson, 2005). Yukl (1998) reported that transformational leadership hinges on how the leaders are viewed by their followers in the areas of trust, admiration, respect, and loyalty. According to Bass (1990) followers are encouraged to move forward so as to widen their knowledge and develop growth in areas that would eventually benefit the organization” (Ackoff, 1999; Avolio, Waldman, & Einstein, 1988; Bass, 1990; Bennis, 1989a; Hunt, 1991; Keeley, 1995; Keller, 1995; Miles, 1997, 1998; Sosik, 1997; Yukl, 1998).

Overall the transactional and transformational styles of leadership are significantly different from one another, in that, transformational leaders sell the vision of the organization in such a manner that the others want to buy in and accept ownership of the outcome (Bass, 1985b, 1990a). While the vision of the transactional leaders is shallow and does not incorporate the entire picture of the organization but do not dwell on the future of the organization (Tracey and Hinkin, 1994).

Transformational leadership is generally defined as the power to enable the organization to soar with the followers behind (Yukl, 1998). In addition, Bass (1990b) specified that transformational leaders strive to make provision for the growth of knowledge and increase the vision and interests of the employees to embrace the organization vision (p. 21). In a nutshell version, transformational leadership is dependent on the loyalty of its employees to escalate the organization to the desired levels envisioned (Yukl, 1998).

Stone and Patterson (2005) confirmed that transactional leadership is in the process when the leaders “exchange promises of rewards and benefits to subordinates for the subordinates’ fulfillment of agreements with the leader” (Bass 1990a, p. 53). The transactional leader and the follower work in partnership with one another, with the leader identifying the follower’s needs and engage in a system of providing those needs in return what for is required by the leader (Daft, 2002). In contrast to transactional leadership, the transformational leadership focuses on developing a cohesive relationship with its followers, enabling them to believe, motivate, and empowering them, with their newfound confidence developed, the followers are in harmony with the vision of the organization (Bass, 1985a).

Transformation and transactional leadership styles are in contrast to laissez-faire leadership. In this style of leadership, the group makes the decision rather than the leader who is frequently unavailable. Bass et al. (2003) agreed that laissez-faire leaders are unclear of the goals and the expectations of the organization. It is up to the followers to find solutions to resolve existing problems. This type of leadership occurs when there is no evidence of leadership available.


Leadership in Education

Several studies have concluded that both transformational and transformational leadership have a positive influence on teachers’ perceptions of the school environment, organizational change, and student learning (Hallinger, 2003). Transformational leaders must also provide training and assistance to followers in order to help them better understand changes in education (Bass, Avolio, Jung, & Berson, 2003).

Marks and Printy (2003) study revealed that “transformational leadership emerged as the model needed by principals to lead schools through reform. Transformational leadership emphasized the ingredients of change—ideas, innovation, influence, and consideration for the individual in the process” (p. 391). It is therefore evident that transformational principals who share or delegate responsibilities within the school environment is less likely to be burnt out and at the same time gain the confidence of the teachers. Marks and Printy (2003) further suggested that principal who displayed strong transformational leadership and supports the commitment of teachers can help them not to put up a barricade that can hinder the development of teacher leadership (Smylie & Denny, 1990).

According to Leithwood et al. (1999), strong administrators are leaders who have the ability to understand the leadership behaviors and identify with those that the school’s stakeholders embraced (Hallinger, 2003, p. 343). Research has shown that principals who stand firmly on the importance and relevance of school culture display strong transformational leadership abilities (Bandura, 1993; Bolman & Deal, 1984; Sackney, 1998). Deal and Peterson (1999) further added that the principal has the power to bring change to the school’s culture: “It is important to remember the formidable nature of school leaders’ unofficial power to reshape school culture toward an ‘ethos of excellence’ and to make quality an authentic part of the daily routine of school life” (p. 86).

Studies have validated the correlation between principal influence on teacher job satisfaction and teachers’ willingness to follow their principals’ effectiveness (Masood et al. 2006). A study conducted by Leithwood and Jantzi (2006), to test the effects of a transformational model of school leadership, effects on teachers, their classroom practices, and student learning found evidence that transformational leadership is widely distributed throughout the organization (Leithwood, Jantzi, Earl, Fullan, & Levin, 2004).

Leadership in School

Fullan (2001), argued that “the more complex society gets, the more sophisticated leadership must become” (Balyer 2012, p. 518) Subsequently, Lewis, Goodman and Fandt (1998) emphasized that leaders in schools are required to manage the frequent changes occurring around the world in education and be prepared to implement them successfully (Balyer, 2012). This study proposes to examine the significance of transformational leadership demonstrated in the schools. (Leithwood, Jantzi, Earl, Fullan, & Levin, 2004) confirms that recent evidence suggests that principal who adheres to the transformational leadership practices are consistently effective leaders throughout the school (Leithwood and Jantzi, 2006). Additionally, (Hallinger & Murphy, 1986) added that meaning leadership is not about power, but rather the responsibility. It is built on providing service to others and at the same time achieving the vision of the school. (Biggerstaff, 2012) discusses that leadership is not about the principals, but rather on what legacy remains after the principals are gone.

School Leadership Roles

The school principal is the chief executive officer and authority figure in any school.

The principal is the individual who ultimately bears the burden and responsibility for supervising all school-related activities. It is the principal who determines the level of morale and culture within the school setting. The performance of the principal may be a strong indicator of the overall culture of the school. Therefore, if the school culture is one that exemplifies a positive tone and a “kids-first” mentality, then one could easily point to the school principal’s leadership as a crucial factor in determining its success (Marzano et al., 2005). Effective principals are desperately needed as the world of education continues to change rapidly in order to meet the new demands of 21st Century learning.

The following section addresses relevant empirical studies in the field of education in relation to principal leadership styles.


The Bogler Study

Bogler (2001) examined the effects of job satisfaction of teachers with regard to teacher perceptions of their principal’s transformational and transactional leadership style, teacher perceptions of their principal’s decision-making strategy (autocratic or participative), and teacher occupation perceptions. The purpose of this study was designed to examine the teacher perceptions of their principal’s behavior, rather than the actual behavior of the principal.

Participants included 930 teachers and the response rate for this study was 80%.

Bogler surveyed elementary, middle, and high school teachers in 98 schools located in the northern part of Israel. There was a representative sample of urban, suburban, and rural schools with a diverse population that represented the composition of teachers in Israel with regard to gender and religion. The sample included 66% female teachers, and the method included the use of a quantitative questionnaire with Likert-type scales. The first section of the questionnaire was a modified version of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) and measured the leadership style of the school principal. The second section was taken from Friedman’s decision-making style questionnaire and measured autocratic-participative strategies used by principals. The third section of the questionnaire dealt with teacher occupation perceptions and was developed from Yaniv’s Occupation Perception Questionnaire. Individuals were asked to refer to their current principal and answer questions about their principal’s leadership style and decision-making strategies, perceptions about their profession, and their satisfaction from issues related to teaching as an occupation. Principal component analysis with a varimax rotation was performed on the dimensions of transformational and transactional leadership, teacher occupation perceptions, and teacher job satisfaction.

Results indicated that teacher satisfaction was significantly correlated with teacher occupation perceptions, school principal transformational leadership, participative decision-making style, and transactional leadership. Additionally, the more that teachers perceived their occupation in terms of a profession, the more they perceived their principal to be a transformational leader. This survey also concluded that the more the principals were perceived as participative, the greater their levels of job satisfaction. The most important finding, according to Bogler, was that teacher occupation perceptions strongly affected teacher job satisfaction. Limitations of the study include generalizability of the sample because it only consisted of teachers in the northern part of Israel. Therefore, any attempt to generalize the study’s findings should be approached with caution. Researchers also suggested that transactional leadership entails some negative connotations in its scale items that could potentially pose a problem with face validity potentially leading to interference with the reliability of this particular construct

(Bogler, 2001).

My study, like the Bogler (2001) study, examined the relationship between teacher perceptions of principal leadership styles and teacher job satisfaction. However, unlike Bogler’s study of elementary, middle, and high schools in Israel, my study will survey teachers only in elementary schools, will be conducted in private schools instead of public schools, and will be conducted in five states within the United States of America wherein all teachers are of the same religion and beliefs (SDA), instead of a mixture of different religion. Additionally, all the participants will be English speaking, and the jobs satisfaction instrument (MSQ) was used instead of the Occupation Perception Questionnaire (OPQ).

The Nguni, Sleegers, and Denessen Study

Nguni et al. (2006) studied the relationship between the transformational leadership style of the school principal and teacher job satisfaction. The researchers added the effects of these leadership practices on teachers’ organizational commitment, organizational citizenship behavior, and the indirect effects of transformational and transactional leadership on organizational commitment and organizational citizenship behavior through the lens of job satisfaction.

The study was conducted in public primary schools in Tanzania and included 700 primary school teachers selected from 70 schools located in five districts in the eastern education zone of Tanzania. A total of 545 teachers appropriately responded with a return rate of 78%. The sample teacher population consisted of 83% female and 17% male. Instrumentation consisted of a 95-item Likert-type questionnaire that sought to examine school leadership, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and organizational citizenship behavior. School leadership was surveyed through questions gleaned from the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ); organizational commitment was surveyed through the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ); organizational citizenship behavior was measured through the Smith Questionnaire; and job satisfaction was measured by the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ). Questionnaires were administered to teachers at selected schools during a faculty meeting, and separate envelopes were provided in which teachers could turn in their questionnaire for anonymity purposes. Multiple regression analyses were performed to assess the effect of transformational and transactional leadership styles on the job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and organizational citizenship behavior.

Results indicated that both transformational and transactional leadership styles influence the outcome variables of organizational commitment, organizational citizenship behavior, and teacher job satisfaction; however, varying degrees of influence were evident on the outcome variables. The study findings also confirmed that the group of transformational leadership behaviors had strong-to-moderate positive effects on value commitment, organizational citizenship behavior, and job satisfaction. Transactional leadership behaviors had no significant effects on value commitment, organizational citizenship behavior, and had a positive effect on commitment to stay. The results demonstrated that individual leadership style with regards to transformational and transactional leadership have varying degrees of influence on outcome variables. The transformational leadership dimension of charismatic leadership, in particular, had the greatest influence and accounted for a large proportion of variation in value commitment, organizational citizenship behavior, and teacher job satisfaction. With regard to the transactional leadership dimensions, the contingent reward component had a positive influence on job satisfaction; however, it was noted to have a negative influence on commitment to stay. The two leadership dimensions of passive management-by exception and laissez-faire leadership exhibited strong negative effects on commitment to stay. The results of the study illustrated that the individual dimensions of transformational and transactional leadership have varying degrees of influence on teacher work attitudes and behavior including organizational commitment, organizational citizenship behavior, and job satisfaction. These results suggest that effective school leaders should use a combination of transformational and transactional leadership styles or behaviors.

Limitations for the study included the possibility of diminished generalizability of the results. Because the study was conducted entirely in the developing country of

Tanzania and exclusively sampled primary teachers, generalizability of the results could be skewed. Therefore, a replication of this study could be conducted in the United States to compare, contrast, and validate the results of this particular study. My study is intended to do just that by studying principal leadership styles and teacher job satisfaction in SDA schools in the SWUC.



The Korkmaz Study

Korkmaz (2007) examined the effects of the transformational and transactional leadership style of the school principal along with teacher job satisfaction on the schools’ organizational health. Specifically, his study investigated to what extent the variations in school health can be related to the principal’s leadership style and teacher job satisfaction.

Participants of the study were teachers working in high schools in Ankara,

Turkey. The sample included 630 teachers who responded to the questionnaires, with a response rate of 75%. Female teachers comprised 55% of the individuals, and males comprised 45%. The instrument utilized Likert-type questionnaires, in which teachers were asked to answer questions concerning principal leadership styles, their school’s organizational health, and job satisfaction within their current school context. The leadership style of the school principal was measured by a modified version of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ); school organizational health was measured by an adapted version of the Organizational Health Inventory (OHI) and the Job Satisfaction of Education Administrators measured job satisfaction. Path analysis was used to explain the direct and indirect relationships between leadership style of the school principal and teacher job satisfaction in relation to the overall organizational health of the school.

The results indicated that the more the teachers perceive their principal as a transformational leader, the more their level of job satisfaction increases; and the less their principal exhibits transactional leadership, the better the school’s organizational health becomes. Through this analysis, it can be assumed that the more the teachers perceive their principal as a transformational leader and the less they perceive him or her as a transactional leader, the more their level of job satisfaction increases and the school’s organizational health improves.

The findings of the study demonstrated that both transactional leadership style and teacher job satisfaction may be factors affecting the school’s organizational health. The most interesting finding of the study is that transformational leadership has a profound impact on teacher job satisfaction. Another finding from this study was that transformational leadership had a positive effect on organizational health, which could be seen as an expected result since transformational leadership usually involves the utilization of personal development strategies when combined with helping others realize their own leadership capacity.

Furthermore, this study illustrated that teachers prefer a school principal who exhibits transformational leadership style more so than a transactional leadership style, which actually contradicts earlier findings (Nguni et al., 2006) that argued the best leadership approach is that of combining transformational and transactional leadership styles.

Limitations of the study included restricted generalizability of the results because the research was exclusively conducted in Ankara, Turkey. Additionally, the study researched only the perceptions of high school teachers, which also could contribute to the diminished generalizability of the results. Future research could be conducted to include further investigation into transformational leadership and the specific factors impacting job satisfaction of teachers.

The following section reviews the relationship of job satisfaction and leadership.




Job Satisfaction

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between principal leadership styles and teacher job satisfaction. Job satisfaction in general is simply “how people feel about their jobs and different aspects of their jobs…it is the extent to which people like (satisfaction) or dislike (dissatisfaction) their jobs” (Spector, 1997, p. 2).

Overview of Teacher Job Satisfaction

Hongying (2007) referred specifically to teacher job satisfaction as the attitude and views of teachers concerning working conditions and the teaching profession in general. Accordingly, research of teacher job satisfaction began in 1935 with Hoppock’s classic study in which he utilized surveys and interviews of workers in one community with regard to the teaching profession. He discovered that the elements of working conditions, familial obligations, and social interactions with co-workers impacted satisfaction on the job (Brief & Weiss, 2002).

In addition, Herzberg’s motivation hygiene theory (as cited in Dinham & Scott, 1998) argued that certain factors in the work environment cause job satisfaction, while another group of factors contribute to job dissatisfaction. Herzberg’s theory, therefore, can be construed to align satisfying factors with higher order needs of teachers, whereas dissatisfying factors can be associated with teachers’ lower order needs. The satisfiers can be applied to the intrinsic facets of work including employee appreciation, praise, and recognition; opportunities for promotion; and respect for the profession. Conversely, the dissatisfiers correlate to extrinsic factors such as working climate and conditions, administrative supervision, salary, policymaking, and collegial relationships. Overall, teachers report more motivation and job satisfaction if they feel that the principal communicates effectively, seeks advice and input from others, and practices collaborative decision-making skills (Bogler, 2001).

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors of Teacher Job Satisfaction

The Survey of the American Teacher (2001) further examined teacher job satisfaction as it relates to extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors associated with increased levels of teacher job satisfaction included working with students, viewing the profession as rewarding, and feeling good about student progress. On the contrary, extrinsic factors leading to teacher job dissatisfaction included low wage; poor principal support; issues of student misconduct; minimal teaching resources; and a negative school atmosphere (Survey of American Teacher, 2001). Studies also support the notion that intrinsic rewards are correlated with an elevated degree of motivation and satisfaction. Teachers who feel that teaching is a “calling” and yearn to watch students grow and make progress academically experience more job satisfaction than their counterparts who do not feel that way (Latham, 1998).

Goodlad (1984) discovered that teachers feel more satisfied with their work if they view teaching as a profession based on professional values when compared to teachers who chose to teach based purely on the monetary value. Ultimately, the research confirms that higher autonomy levels at work and professional areas of teaching in general, such as principal leadership, have contributed to increase teacher job satisfaction levels (Bogler, 2001).



Factors Influencing Teacher Job Satisfaction

Teacher job satisfaction affects teaching, effectiveness of administration, and overall quality of the school. According to Spear et al. (2000), the main contributing factors that correlate with feelings of strong, positive satisfaction included working with students. Another factor included teachers being challenged to think creatively and being given autonomy in their classrooms. Likewise, Perie and Backer (1997) cited student relationships, teacher autonomy, adequate principal assistance, and a positive school culture as factors associated with higher levels of teacher job satisfaction. Nevertheless, the most important variable concerning teacher job satisfaction is teacher attitude (Saari & Judge, 2004).

Interestingly, the National Education Association (2001) conducted a study that argued that poor administrative support and ineffectual building-level administrators were the main reasons for low levels of teacher job satisfaction. Many teachers feel dissatisfied with their job because of the inordinate amount of accountability placed on them to ensure all students are reaching proficiency (Popham, 2004). As teachers become gradually dissatisfied with their working conditions and experience a decrease in commitment to their schools, this attitude of dissatisfaction slowly begins to negatively affect students as well (Wu & Short, 1996). Consequently, teachers who recently left teaching noted that increased stress, excessive bureaucracy, heavy workloads, poor pay, and low morale were the combination of factors that led to their decision to leave teaching altogether (Spear et al., 2000).

Furthermore, in an effort to meet the requirements of NCLB, many teachers feel as if they have minimal time to focus on their teaching pedagogy. Instead they argue that their time is spent struggling to keep up with the daily stress associated with increased accountability (Popham, 2004). Connolly (2000) noted that teacher job dissatisfaction increased when teachers realized they had limited input in the decision-making process coupled with restricted autonomy within their classrooms. Teachers begin to feel isolated, angry, and disrespectful toward administration when their independence as a classroom teacher is diminished. When this occurs, teachers then begin to feel frustrated and depleted of energy and enthusiasm for teaching. As teachers become isolated within their classrooms, their levels of satisfaction and commitment to the school becomes endangered (Danielson, 2002). Therefore, teachers begin viewing teaching as a mere job instead of a profession that has meaning.  When issues arise that leave teachers feeling demoralized and unhappy, the consequence is teacher job dissatisfaction.

Teacher job satisfaction is greatly impacted through working conditions. Teachers are satisfied by the support they receive from their administration, the control they have over their work environment, the mentoring or coaching they receive, the extent to which they view themselves as successful in the classroom, and the perception of a safe and secure working environment (Stockard & Lehman, 2004). These are areas in which building level principals can have some control and can be promoted through district level policies and practices as well. Being able to identify the degree to which each of these environmental factors are present at the school level would give principals vital information concerning how to best adapt their own leadership style to improve the overall job satisfaction of their teachers.



Job Satisfaction and Transformational Leadership

Within the context of educational institutions, several studies have been attempted in understanding the impact of transformational leadership on job satisfaction. Griffith (2004) conducted a study on the impact of transformational leadership on job satisfaction, staff turnover, and job performance. It was found that schools in which principals were perceived as transformational leaders had school staff that were more satisfied with their jobs and had less staff turnover. Principals with transformational leadership skills are found to have the ability to imbue, inspire and equip teachers with the vision of the future, and strengthen commitment of teachers to school affairs (Yu, 2002). Silins & Mulford (2002) found that teachers’ job satisfaction is largely reliant upon the degree by which principals are skilled in transformational leadership styles. Ejimofor (1985) found that principals with transformational leadership skills have the ability to exert influence on the behaviors of their teachers, thus influencing job satisfaction. Finally, Bogler’s (2001) investigations indicate that teachers who perceived their principals as transformational leaders not only reported higher job satisfaction, but also better conceptualized teaching as their profession.







Job Satisfaction and Education

Herzberg’s theory was also examined within academic settings. In agreement with previously stated findings, the two-factor theory received both support and criticism in the field of education. Abreu (1980) found a significant relationship between Herzberg’s intrinsic factors and the reaction of the teachers of three school districts to items expressing job satisfaction. These factors were responsibility, work itself, achievement, advancement, and recognition. A significant relationship was also revealed between Herzberg’s extrinsic factors and the reaction of participants to items expressing job dissatisfaction. These factors included: salary, job security, possibility of growth, institutional policy, working conditions, interpersonal relations, status, technical supervision, and personal life.

Gaziel (1986) investigated the generality of the two-factor theory for elementary school teachers in Israel. The results of both open-ended and closed-ended questionnaires supported Herzberg’s two-factor theory. Factors related to job satisfaction included achievement, recognition, advancement, and responsibility. Factors causing job dissatisfaction included salary and reward system, policies and administration, supervision, and working conditions. An exception to Herzberg’s profile was found in the fact that teachers identified their interpersonal relations with colleagues as satisfiers rather than dissatisfiers. Gaziel’s results only partially supported Herzberg’s claim (Herzberg et al., 1959) that the two-factor theory is not dependent on demographic variables. The study found that age and formal education were positively related to job satisfaction.

Nussel, Rusche, and Wiersma (1988) studied a sample of 426 college educators from public and private institutions. Again a Likert-type scale was developed using Herzberg’s theory to test the satisfaction/dissatisfaction dichotomy for this population in which the results supported the two-factor theory. High levels of satisfaction were found with work itself including many tasks directly associated with the challenge of being an educator and working with students. Scores associated with job dissatisfaction were tied to working conditions, salary, and administration. In agreement with previous findings (Friesen, Holdaway, & Rice, 1983; Gaziel, 1986), teachers saw their relationship with peers or colleagues as a satisfier rather than a dissatisfier.

Dawn and Westbrook (1997) found that accomplishment was the most frequently mentioned motivator for each company as well as for the total group of respondents studied. Two factors mentioned that most described dissatisfying experiences were management style and company policy.

In a review of research on teacher satisfaction, Latham (1998) concluded that intrinsic rewards play a greater role in teacher motivation and job satisfaction than extrinsic rewards. Latham further stated that job satisfaction could improve teaching and help retain teachers.

In contrast, Ashton (1989) found in his study of middle-school principals that pay was a significant predictor of job satisfaction. Andrew et al. (2002) concluded that counselor job satisfaction was significantly related to six extrinsic job factors.

Sudsawasd (1980) studied Thai faculty members, and concluded that policy and administration, as well as salary, were the major sources of job satisfaction. The relevant sources of job dissatisfaction in his study were in the areas of achievement, growth, interpersonal relations, recognition, responsibility, work itself, and working conditions.

Kenyan educators identified job security, no alternatives, holidays, sense of building the nation, chance to continue learning, and love of job itself as the most satisfying factors in their current positions. In contrast, poor pay, poor promotion methods, lack of recognition, and no chance for advancement were found to contribute most teachers toward job dissatisfaction (Karugu, 1980).

Dissatisfaction is most frequently perceived with low satisfaction that included pay, administration, resources, and working conditions (Everett & Entrekin, 1980; Gannon et al., 1980; Renner & Jester, 1980). Other studies, however, have questioned the importance of extrinsic rewards, such as pay and promotion, as motivators for effective teaching (Bess, 1977; McKeachie, 1982).

Although a number of studies have been conducted regarding the job satisfaction of administrators and teachers, some researchers are uncertain as to what factors contribute to an individual’s job satisfaction (Candler, Yorbrough, & Sparkman, 1988). This lack of clarity may be attributed to researchers’ inattention to focusing on roles and contexts in which they exist. Conley, Bacharach, and Bauer (1989), as well as Schulz and Teddlie (1989), suggest the need to broaden the parameters that define job satisfaction. Researchers must look beyond general determinants of job satisfaction and focus on specific subgroups of educators to understand the determinants of their satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

The next section addresses related demographic variables—age, gender, education, and experience as it relates to leadership and satisfaction.


Demographic Variables


Dewar and Werbel (1979) and Dennis (1998) reported that job satisfaction increases with age. Khillah (1986) saw age differences in the degree of job satisfaction regarding different factors contributing to satisfaction. Teachers who were most satisfied with their jobs were in their 50’s or older, followed by teachers between 41 and 49 years of age. Increased overall job satisfaction through age was also reported for both males (Gibson & Klein, 1971; Hullin & Smith, 1965) and females (Hunt & Saul, 1975).

More recent studies indicate a U-shape curve in age on job satisfaction. Cockburn (1998) found that younger and older teachers had higher levels of job satisfaction than their colleagues in the intermediate group. Oswald and Warr (1996) concluded in their study that a U-shape in all measures of job satisfaction existed for both men and women separately, and that the minimal level of satisfaction was similar across the sexes.

Contrary to these findings, Muchinsky (1978) found older employees to be less satisfied than their younger counterparts. Iiacqua and Schumacher (1995) did not find a significant correlation between job satisfaction and age, and Blank (1993) reported no significant difference between age groups and their levels of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

Bolin (2007) found that the greater a teacher’s age the greater the satisfaction in self-fulfillment, salary, and collegial relationship. Castle, Degenholtz, and Jules (2006) found that older teachers were significantly more satisfied with pay than their counterparts. While Sargent and Hannum suggested that younger teachers were significantly less satisfied than their counterparts (p. 294).


Studies regarding the relationship between job satisfaction and gender have shown inconsistent results. While Haynes (1983) and Arthur (1987) found that males were more satisfied with their jobs than females, other studies concluded that males were more satisfied over time compared to their female counterparts (Quinn et al., 1971; Quinn & Shepard, 1974). This tendency was also found for male faculty (Gannon et al., 1980, McNeece, 1981; Perry, 1977; Smith & Plant, 1982).

On the contrary, a study of 2,202 teachers by Ma and MacMillan (1999) showed that female teachers were more satisfied with their work as teachers than their male colleagues. Bogler (2007) showed significant differences between female and male teachers. Female teachers expressed higher levels of satisfaction than male teachers in every aspect of teacher satisfaction. Likewise, Hean and Garrett (2001) showed significant differences in sources of satisfaction for this group of Chilean teachers based on gender. Female teachers enjoyed the positive characteristics of their students as well as interaction and stimulation from working with young people more than male teachers. Female teachers may perceive their role as caring for the students more than males teachers do.

Iiaqua and Schumacher (1995) did not obtain a significant correlation between job satisfaction and gender. Likewise, Hullin and Smith (1964), Quinn, Staines, and McCullough (1974), Sausner and York (1978), and Smith and Plant (1982) did not find a significant gender difference in job satisfaction.

There is conflicting evidence regarding the role of intrinsic versus extrinsic factors in job satisfaction and gender. While Blank (1993) found no significant gender difference revealed, when distinguished between intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction, McNeel (1984) concluded that females were more intrinsically satisfied than males. This finding was also supported by Hill (1983), who suggested that gender differences exist in the degree of job satisfaction in higher education but co-vary with extrinsic job factors, such as single-gender dominance on faculty of departments and institutions, academic rank, and academic degree.


Evidence shows that job satisfaction is at its peak when a person begins a new job. Following this period there is a steady decline that is apparent when employees are in their 20s and 30s. Afterwards, there is a gradual rise in job satisfaction up to pre-retirement, i.e., around age 60.

Khillah (1986) found that Seventh-day Adventist teachers with no previous experience displayed the highest level of job satisfaction. The teachers experienced their lowest job satisfaction between 1 and 3 years of their professional career with it constantly rising from the 4th year on. These findings have suggested a honeymoon stage for beginners, followed by frustration, and finally rising satisfaction.

A positive relationship between job satisfaction and length of employment was also supported by a study by Avi-Itzhak (1988). Additionally, Niehoff (1995) found a positive correlation between employment length and job satisfaction for university employees. On the contrary, a study by Ma and MacMillan (1999) revealed that teachers who stayed in the profession longer were less satisfied with their work.

Educational Level

Iiacqua and Schumacher (1995) concluded in their study that there was no significant relationship between job satisfaction and level of education. A similar result was revealed by Blank (1993) who found no differences in job satisfaction when educational level was considered.

On the contrary, Niehoff s study (1995) revealed a significant correlation between education and overall job satisfaction. In addition, Blank (1993) found that employees holding a doctoral degree were most satisfied with their jobs. No significant difference was found regarding the level of job satisfaction between employees with a Bachelor and a Master degree.



The existing review of research is clear with respect to teacher job satisfaction. Today, teachers feel dissatisfied with their job due to contributing factors such as increased accountability and stress, heavy workloads, poor pay and working conditions, a negative school atmosphere, low morale, excessive bureaucracy, and, specifically, inadequate principal support (Survey of American Teacher, 2001; Spear et al., 2000).

The existing review of literature regarding principal leadership style and teacher job satisfaction confirms a significant relationship between transformational leadership style of the school principal and teacher job satisfaction (Bogler, 2001; Korkmaz, 2007; Nguni et al., 2006). Bogler (2001) specifically discovered job satisfaction of teachers was significantly correlated with principal transformational and transactional leadership. Nguni et al. (2006) indicated that both transformational and transactional leadership factors influenced teacher job satisfaction.

Although some empirical research investigations have been conducted regarding the relationship between principal leadership style and teacher job satisfaction, the fact remains that this author could find few studies conducted within SDA elementary school contexts in the United States.

The next chapter will outline the research methodology utilized in this study.

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