The impact of principal leadership behaviors on school climate
TABLE OF CONTENTS Page DEDICATION iii ABSTRACT iv ACKNOWLEDGEMETS vi TABLE OF CONTENTS viii LIST OF TABLES xi I INTRODUCTION 1 Statement of Problem 3 Purpose of the Study 5 Significance of the Study 6 Definition of Terms 7 Theoretical Framework 15 Research Questions 18 Limitations 18 Delimitations 19 Assumptions 19 Organization of the Study 19 II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 21 Introduction 21 Development of the American School Principal's Authority 23 Authority 27 Leadership Theories 31 viii
V CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 93 Summary 95 Conclusions 101 Implications 102 Contributions to the Literature 103 Recommendations 105 REFERENCES 107 APPENDIX A 124 VITA 127
LIST OF TABLES TABLE Page 1 Marzano et al. (2005) Behaviors and Cottons (2003) 25 Categories 51 2 The 21 Responsibilities and Their Correlations (r) with Student Achievement 54 3 Student Demographic Data For Districts A and B 67 4 Organizational Health Inventory Point Value for Each Item Statement 73 5 Organizational Health Inventory Point Value for Possible Responses 74 6 Organizational Health Inventory Reliability Coefficients 80 7 Pearson Correlation Results 84
1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The No Child Left Behind Act (2001) revised the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 by making substantial modifications in the major federal programs that support schools' efforts to educate all children (U.S. Department of Education, Office of the Deputy Secretary, 2004). Since the inception of this law, demand for greater accountability for student achievement from politicians and legislators has increased exponentially (Carnoy, Elmore, & Siskin, 2003). Strict accountability measures, developed and implemented without the consent or involvement of educators, were imposed on students, teachers, schools, and school districts (Waite, Boone, & NcGgee, 2001). The increased emphasis on accountability heightened the demands on teachers and administrators more than ever before in the history of education in the United States (Carnoy, Elmore, & Siskin, 2003). As increased accountability became the norm, school leadership became more challenging and demanding in order to achieve the newly stipulated accountability (Salazar, 2008). Research on the literature on school effectiveness depicted the school leader as key; a catalyst for creating conditions conducive to school improvement found in effective schools (Hawley & Rollie, 2007). Further research on school effectiveness identified the principal as the educational leader who affects school climate and student achievement (Rutter, Maugham, Mortimore, Ouston, & Smith, 1979). Bryk and Schneider (2002) noted that effective leadership positively affects school and student outcomes and found that principals are crucial for shaping trust in schools, which has direct and indirect influences on the effectiveness of the school. Witziers, Bosker, and
2 Kriiger (2003) indicated that as a result of heightened emphasis on accountability, more attention has been paid to educational leadership and its impact on student outcomes. According to Creighton (2005), the demand for greater accountability influences every decision school principals make, and conversely, the decisions principals make impact student achievement. Kelley, Thorton and Daugherty (2005) described the educational leader as perhaps the most important determinant of an effective learning environment and related effective school leadership to significant increases in student achievement. McLaughlin and Talber (2006) identified school principals as central to academic success. Principals are in a strategic position to promote or inhibit the development of a teacher learning community in their schools. Salazar (2008) asserted that student learning is significantly affected by the school leadership and stated that the quality and effectiveness of the principal is responsible for nearly 25% of the in-school factors that impact student achievement. Members of the public, reformers, and many educational professionals view principals as absolutely key to successful school improvement (Fullan, 2009; Wikely, Stoll, Murillo, & De Jong, 2005). Fullan (2009) indicated that with Barack Obama's presidency, America has an opportunity to reshape educational policy and to let educational leaders lead their schools again. The Oxford English Dictionary defines authority as having the right to command, power to influence action, power over the opinions of others, intellectual influence, power to inspire belief, and title to be believed (Horst & Waters, 2006). To have authority, Raz (1990) asserted, is sometimes to have permission to do something, to have the right to grant such permission, or to be an expert who can vouch for the reliability of
particular information. As the power and authority of the school principal increased over time, the authority behaviors of the school principal became increasingly critical. The principal behaviors have a direct impact on school climate and consequently on school effectiveness (Marzano, Waters & McNulty, 2005). Kouzes and Posner (2007), when discussing leaders' power and authority, acknowledged that leaders accept and frequently act on the paradox of authority and indicated that leaders become most powerful when they give their our own power away. Kelley, Thornton, and Daugherty (2005) found that school principals make use of their authority to impact academic performance by creating and sustaining a positive school climate. Kelley et al. concluded that principals have the power and authority to impact the climate of their schools but that many principals lack feedback from their teachers to improve. Kelley et al. asserted that school leaders must envision the needs of their teachers and use their authority to empower teachers to share the vision, and allow them to create an effective school climate. School principals, considered to be the key in school reform and whose requirements and expectations for the position have become increasingly regulated, have drawn on shifting sources of authority to establish their institutional and personal power through the years (Kafka, 2009). Statement of the Problem Over the last 20 years, society has experienced vast technological, economic, and social changes that have impacted the way schools function and serve students (Johnson, Bush, & Robles-Pina, 2007a,2007b). With increased accountability as the new norm, the ability of the school principal to improve the effectiveness of the school becomes the key element in determining the impact that the school will have on students (Salazar, 2008).
4 School principals can use their authority to impact academic performance by creating and sustaining a positive school climate (Kelley et al., 2005). Peterson and Deal (2002) recommend that administrators proactively shape climate by reinforcing positive features and work to change negative features. The school principal must adopt appropriate leadership skills and leadership behaviors to promote the improvement of school climate and culture (Peterson & Deal). Marzanno et al. (2005) found leadership responsibilities and behaviors of principals referred to as change agents to be related to improved climate and culture and ultimately to improved student outcomes in school. Researchers have investigated the impact of behavior and leadership traits but have not adequately described the basic motivational behaviors and attributes that influence leadership behaviors (Johnson et al., 2007b; Zaccaro, 2007). Limited research is available that identifies relationships between the school principal's authority behaviors and school effectiveness. Few researchers have focused on explaining how school principals' behaviors impact school climate (Marzano et al., 2005). According to Johnson et al. (2007a), the covert behaviors of principals are believed to impact situations and decisions in schools, but those behaviors do not directly impact student achievement. The school principal's impact on student achievement is considered an indirect effect mediated through the climate of the school (Hallinger & Heck, 1998). There are specific dimensions of school climate that significantly influence student achievement that may also be influenced by the behaviors of the principal (Bush, 2003; Johnson et al., 2007b; McLean, Fairman, & Moore, 2006). Information is sparse on the impact of the school principal's Authority Usual behaviors, Authority Needs behaviors, and Authority Stress behaviors, as measured by the Leadership Profile, on
5 school chmate. More research is necessary to study the relationship, as perceived by teachers, between principals' authority behaviors and components of school climate. Is there a relationship between how school principals perceive they use their authority and the characteristics of school chmate as perceived by teachers? Analyzing the educational characteristics associated with principals' authority behaviors might provide answers for school districts on how to improve academic performance through the improvement of school chmate. Research on the impact of the school principal's authority behaviors on school climate is far from complete. Further research is needed to determine if there are relationships between principals' authority behaviors and school chmate. Further studies were specifically recommended by Johnson et al. (2007b) after their study yielded statistically significant correlations between the Leadership Profile's Authority components and four dimensions of the Organizational Health Inventory: (a) Optimal Power Equalization, (b) Innovativeness, (c) Autonomy, and (d) Communication Adequacy (Johnson, 2007b). More research is necessary to understand such relationships and to provide school principals with information about how they may use their position authority to improve the chmate and performance of their schools. Recommendations may be drawn from future studies to provide school district administrators with staff development recommendations on how school principals may use their authority to improve their schools. Purpose of the Study The purpose of my study was to explore the relationships between and among the three components of the school principal's authority behaviors, as assessed by the
6 Leadership Profile (Johnson, 2003a; Johnson, 2003b), and four dimensions of school climate, as measured by the Organizational Health Inventory (Fairman, 1979). The Leadership Profile measured the components Authority Usual, Authority Needs, and Authority Stress. The Organizational Health Inventory measured Optimal Power Equalization, Innovativeness, Autonomy, and Communication Adequacy. Significance of the Study In the current school environment of high stakes testing and accountability, communities and educational leaders at all levels demand that schools not only function adequately, attain academic goals, and adapt to change but also that they perform at increasingly higher levels (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2009). Researchers recognized the role of a positive school climate in attaining successful results from school improvement initiatives (Day, Harris, & Hadfield, 2000; Fullan, 2009). An Educational "competent system serves the end of enhanced achievement for all students" (Zmuda, Kuklis & Kline, 2004. p. 2) and requires shifts from an environment of isolation to one of collegiality, from disparate tMnking to systems thinking, from perceived reality to data driven reality, and from individual Autonomy to collective Autonomy and collective accountability (Zmuda et al., 2004). Researchers acknowledge the absence of measurable studies conducted to demonstrate how specific leadership authority behaviors may be guided to impact school climate (Johnson et al, 2007b). Effective school research Rutter et al. (1979) focused on how the school principal directly affected student achievement, and although highly valued by educational leaders, how to implement effective school research recommendations to effect student achievement has remained vague and
7 imprecise and fails to provide practical guidelines for school principals on how to become effective educational leaders (Johnson, Busch, & Robles-Pina, 2007a). There are dimensions of climate that significantly influence student achievement in schools and that are influenced by the principal's behavior (Bush, 2003; Johnson et al., 2007a, 2007b; McLean, Fairman, & Moore, 2006). Identifying the relationship between the principal's Authority Scales, as measured by The Birkman® instrument (Birkman, Elizondo, Lee, Wadlington, Zamzow, 2008), and specific dimensions of school climate, as measured by the Organizational Health Inventory (Fairman & McLean, 2003) will allow for the development of specific approaches and initiatives to be used by principals to improve school climate and student achievement at their schools. Principals' authority behaviors are likely to have a profound impact on school climate and ultimately on student achievement. My study provides new information to the current body of knowledge by determining if correlations exist between principals' authority behaviors and dimensions of school climate. New information from my study will help researchers develop future studies that will assist education service centers and school districts develop principal preparation programs and principals' staff development on how principals may use their authority behaviors to improve school climate. Definition of Terms The operational definitions in my study are: Acceptance Scales Acceptance Scales of The Birkman Method® describe a sociability construct that addresses how people relate in social groups. "It includes the degree to which an individual enjoys people in groups, wants to be talkative, enjoys of social laughter, fells
8 comfort in talking to strangers, enjoys parties and group activities, and is approachable" (Birkman et al., 2008, p.321). Activity Scale Active scales of The Birkman Method® describe a construct that addresses favored "pace of action and aspects of style, planning, and decision making. This construct includes the degree to which an individual prefers action; quick thinking; and physical expression of energy" (Birkman et al., 2008, p. 321). Adaptation Adaptation is a dimension of the Organizational Health Inventory that refers to the ability of members of the organization to "tolerate stress and maintain stability while coping with demands of the environment" (Fairman & McLean, 2003, p. 112). Advantage Scales Advantage scales of The Birkman® instrument describe a construct including the manner an individual prefers to strive for personal rewards or to contribute in team rewards. This addresses the approach to team versus individual approaches to winning incentives and competitions. Advantage Scales also encompasses cautiousness about trusting, money as an incentive, and seeking personal advantage (Birkman et al., 2008). Authority Scales Authority scales of The Birkman Method® refer to directing and persuading others in verbal exchanges. Authority scales describe the degree an individual would want to persuade, express opinions, speak up in an open and forceful manner (Birkman et al, 2008).
9 Autonomy Autonomy is a dimension of the Organizational Health Inventory that refers to "the state in which a person, group, or organization are free to fulfill their roles and responsibilities" (Fairman & McLean, 2003, p. 112). Autonomy Structure Autonomy structure is a component of The Birkman Method® instrument that refers to systems and procedures regarding how the individual controls issues associated with detail, structure, follow-through, and routine (Birkman et al., 2008). Challenge Scales Challenge scales of The Birkman Method® involve the way in which a person deals with and understands socially correct behavior and social image. Challenge scale deals with issues of social expectation and social image (Birkman et al, 2008). Change Scales Change scales of The Birkman Method® refer to willingness to have new personal experiences. Those who score low prefer minimal personal disruptions, repetitive effort, and predictable responsibilities. Those who score high explore novel approaches and seek new experiences even within stable environments (Birkman et al., 2008). Cohesiveness Cohesiveness is a dimension of the Organizational Health Inventory that refers to the condition when individuals, organizations, or groups have a clear sense of identity. Members of the organization are attracted to join the organization. Members want to stay
10 with the organization, be influenced by it, and they want to exert their own influence within it the organization (Fairman & McLean, 2003). Communication Adequacy Communication Adequacy is a dimension of the Organizational Health Inventory that exists when information is free of distortion and moves vertically and horizontally within the organization (Fairman & McLean, 2003). Component Scales Component scales of The Birkman Method® refers to the constructs affect adults in the work environment and include acceptance, activity, advantage, authority, challenge, change, empathy, esteem, freedom, structure, and thought (Birkman et al., 2008). Empathy Scales Empathy scales of The Birkman Method® refer to a construct addressing "the degree to which an individual is comfortable with emotional expression and involvement of feelings" (Birkman et al., 2008, p. 323). Esteem Scales Esteem scales of The Birkman Method® depict a sensitivity construct that includes saying no, shyness, being praised and praising, sensitivity about correcting or being corrected, being embarrassed or getting one's feelings (Birkman et al., 2008). Freedom Scales Freedom scales of The Birkman Method® describe a construct that refers to the degree to which people are more conventional or not in their approach to solving issues (Birkman et al., 2008).
11 Goal Focus Goal focus is a dimension of the Organizational Health Inventory that refers to "the ability of persons, groups, or organizations to have clarity, acceptance, support, and advocacy of goals and objectives" (Fairman & McLean, 2003, p. 111). Growth Needs Growth needs of The Birkman Method® are the way organizations confront change. Growth needs included the dimensions of Innovativeness, Autonomy, adaptation, and problem-solving adequacy (Birkman et al., 2008). Innovativeness Innovativeness is a dimension of the Organizational Health Inventory that refers to the "ability to be and allow others to be inventive, diverse, creative, and risk taking" (Fairman & McLean, 2003, p. 111). Leadership Behaviors Leadership behaviors are processes or activities of an individual or group in efforts toward goal achievement in a given situation. Leadership includes the function of the leader, the follower, and other situational variables in the environment (Hersey, Blanchard, & Johnson, 1996). Maintenance Needs Maintenance needs of The Birkman Method® are the internal workings of the organization and include the dimensions of resource utilization, cohesiveness, and morale (Birkman et al., 2008).
12 Morale Morale is a dimension of the Organizational Health Inventory that refers to the "state in which a person, group, or organization has feelings of well-being, satisfaction, and pleasure" (Fairman & McLean, 2003, p. 111). Need Scales Need is also referred to as The Birkman's® Expectation Scales. Birkman et al. (2008) indicated that when a person is in a relationship or a situation that happened in a manner consistent with their expectations (Needs), the individual felt good about self, exhibited productive behavior, and was adaptable. When the situation was consistent with the individual's expectations, he behaved in a productive manner. When these expectations were not met, individuals exhibited non-effective behaviors. The only way to define these frustrating conditions was to say that they were not the expectation fulfillment conditions. There were plenty of ways to frustrate expectations but a limited number of ways to accomplish them (Birkman et al., 2008). Optimal Power Equalization Optimal Power Equalization is the dimension of the Organizational Health Inventory that refers to "the ability to maintain a relatively equitable distribution of influence between leader and team members" (Fairman & McLean, 2003, p. 111). Organizational Health Inventory The Organizational Health Inventory was developed to measure specific essential dimensions of the health of schools. The Organizational Health Inventory is a sequence of short explanatory statements of interaction patterns among students, teachers, and
13 administrators administered to the school's professional staff. Factor analysis has confirmed the 10 dimensions (Hoy & Feldman, 1987). Problem-Solving Adequacy Problem-solving adequacy is a dimension of the Organizational Health Inventory that refers to "an organization's ability to perceive problems and solve them with minimal energy. The problems stay solved, and the problem-solving mechanism of the organization is maintained and/or strengthened" (Fairman & McLean, 2003, p. 112). Resource Utilization Resource utilization is a dimension of the Organizational Health Inventory that refers to "the ability to identify and utilize the human talent effectively within an organization and to do so with minimal sense of strain" (Fairman & McLean, 2003, p. 111). School Climate School climate is "the set of internal characteristics that distinguish one school from another and influence the behaviors of faculty and staff members" (Hoy & Miskel, 2005, p. 175). Situational Leadership Situational leadership is a concept designed by Hersey and Blanchard (1995) based on leadership as determined by the readiness of the individuals the leader wants to influence. It is based on the interplay among task behavior and relationship behavior. Stress Scales Stress scale values, also known as The Birkman's® less than effective behavior scale, refer to an individual's ineffective manner of managing relationships or tasks.
14 These behaviors are described as how he behaves when under stress, or how she acts when frustrated. Within The Birkman Method®, this less than productive behavior can be productive in the short term yet costly in terms of relationships and effectiveness. Relationships are damaged and considered collateral damage when achieving the goal. Individuals report that they are not happy with themselves after using these ineffective behaviors. Scale values indicate the style of behavior, not th level of ineffectiveness (Birkman et al., 2008). Structure Scales Structure scales of The Birkman Method® refer to a construct of orderliness that includes the degree to which an individual will give or receive lucid guidance, follow instructions, finish responsibilities, work for accurate results, and use systematic methods (Birkman et al., 2008). Task needs Task needs are the way organizations transmit information and how decisions are made. Task needs included the dimensions of goal focus, Communication Adequacy, and Optimal Power Equalization (Birkman et al., 2008). Thought Scales The thought scales in The Birkman Method® refers to the degree to which individuals form conclusions and make decisions, worry about making the right decision the first time, and are concern about the consequences of such decisions (Birkman et al., 2008).
15 Usual Scales The usual scales refer to the usual productive behaviors expressed in various situations and are easily observed by others. Usual scales describe an individual's effective way of dealing with duties and relationships. These behaviors are positive , even when they may not mean the goals are attained. Low scale values refer to approaching duties and relationships in one manner, and high scale value refer to dealing with them in a opposite but equally efficient manner. Envision two equally skilled individuals, the first who is motivated using intangible rewards and the second who is excellent at motivating using tangible rewards. This is similar to the FIRO-B Elements® assessment, which assumes an individual's behavior is independent of his preferred environmental conditions (Birkman et al., 2008). Theoretical Framework The school principal influences job-related attitudes through the principal's capacity to use position authority to shape work contexts with what individuals want in relation to (a) equity and justice, (b) pedagogy, (c) organizational efficiency, (d) interpersonal relations, (e) collegiality, and (f) self-image (Evans, 2001). Evans (2001) asserted that the work-context, not the leader, is what the employees rely on. Effective leadership requires the leader to be responsible for fostering positive attitudes, understanding what matters to his employees, and knowing what the key issues are upon which the acceptability of an individual's work context depends (Evans, 2001). The theoretical framework for my study follows the model developed by Zaccaro, Kemp, and Bader (2004). Zaccaro et al. described the forces that determine an individual's leadership behaviors. Zaccaro et al. pointed out that a leader's leadership behavior is not
16 dependent upon a single trait, but instead, it is the result of many different traits which combine to determine a leader's response in various roles and situations. Bass (2008) stated that by 1970, the mass of research listed the following traits as those demonstrated by effective leaders: activity level, rate of talk, initiative, assertiveness, aggressiveness, dominance, ascendance, emotional balance, tolerance for stress, self-control, self- efficacy, enthusiasm, and extroversion. Zaccaro et al. used a broad definition of traits which are described as "a range of stable individual differences, including personality, temperament, motives, cognitive abilities, skills, and expertise" (p. 104). Because traits combine to shape a person's behavior, the two are linked. The unique traits that an individual possesses will produce behaviors which are distinctive as well. The description of traits in this model is similar to the behaviors measured by the Leadership Profile because both identify behaviors that are (a) stable, (b) unique to each individual, and (c) based upon multiple behavioral components to provide a comprehensive picture of an individual's behavior (Simmons, 2010). Zaccaro et al. pointed out that an individual's success would also be contingent upon external forces which exist in the operating environment and climate around them. The Leadership Profile identifies the Usual, Needs, and Stress behaviors of principals thus providing insight as to how the operating environment and climate may impact principals' behavior. Principals' leadership behaviors determine how principals interact with students, teachers, support personnel, and the community. Zaccaro et al. (2004) described these leadership behaviors as the traits of personality, temperament, and motives. Zaccaro et al. acknowledged that leadership behaviors are complex and dependent upon "cognitive capacities, personality dispositions, motives, values, and an array of skills and
17 competencies related to particular leadership situations" (p. 120). School principals' behaviors may be shaped by how they use their position authority components (Birkman et al, 2008): (a) Authority Usual, (b) Authority Needs, (c) Authority Stress. These differences in behaviors may ultimately emerge as differences in the principal's interactions with students, parents, faculty, staff, and the community. Marzano et al. (2005) pointed out that school principals can have a profound effect on the academic achievement of students in their schools. Marzano et al. further noted that principal leadership must attend not only to general characteristics of behavior, but must also identify specific actions that affect school climate and student achievement. Using Zaccaro et al. (2004) model as a theoretical framework helps explain why there may be differences in authority behavior among school principals. Zaccaro et al. proposed that a person's leadership behavior is determined by numerous individual attributes. Two categories of leadership attributes influenced the development of an individual's leadership behaviors, which Zaccaro et al. referred to as distal attributes and proximal attributes. Distal attributes were described as internal attributes, such as an individuals' cognitive abilities, personality, and motives or values. Proximal attributes are the more task or job specific qualities, such as a person's social skills, problem solving skills, and expertise or tacit knowledge (Zaccaro et al.). Principals' leadership attributes, and ultimately their leadership authority behaviors, could be varied through principal preparation programs, staff development, or shared knowledge with colleagues (Eaker, 2007; Elmore, 2002). Principals may be members of multiple social categories based on gender, ethnic, or professional groups, which help to shape and individual's identity and