Year

2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Faculty of Education

Abstract

In recent times, political, economic and societal reforms have prompted fundamental shifts in educational policies and the manner in which schools are governed and led. Educational leadership and teacher performance across Australian government and independent schools have been under great scrutiny and national and state government reforms have been implemented to improve educational outcomes, teacher performance and the overall quality of leadership. With greater leadership autonomy, school principals will, inevitably, hold greater accountability and responsibility for the planning and implementation of educational goals, school improvement, professional development, resourcing levels, systematic evaluations and more (Scott, 1990). It is clear from the existing literature that a principal’s role is no longer straightforward and subsequently the expectations of teachers have intensified and become more complex.

While various connections between leadership and job satisfaction have previously been recognised both internationally and across larger organisations, few empirical studies have related teachers’ perceptions of leadership styles and job satisfaction in the context of educational settings. This study aims to narrow the existing gap and shortage of literature pertaining to teachers’ perspectives of leadership behaviour in relation to their own job satisfaction in Australian educational settings.

The independent (non-government) school context was chosen for this study due to its autonomous leadership approach, governance structure and increasing student enrolment. In particular, the aim of this study was to examine transformational and transactional styles of leadership in relation to several measures of job satisfaction, including: supervision, colleagues, working conditions, responsibility, work itself, advancement and recognition.

The participants were 211 NSW independent primary school teachers. The study used a quantitative methodology and data were collected using two survey instruments: the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) and the Teacher Job Satisfaction Questionnaire (TJSQ). A demographic survey with a general comments section was also included.

Findings from the study revealed that participants perceived their leaders as being more transformational than transactional in their styles of leadership. The majority of participants were found to be satisfied in their jobs, and the results determined a very strong positive relationship between leadership style and job satisfaction. Job satisfaction was considered 26.12 times higher when led by a principal using a transformational style of leadership rather than a transactional style of leadership. These findings add to the current dearth of theoretical and empirical literature pertaining to teachers’ perspectives of leadership behaviour in relation to their own job satisfaction. The findings strongly suggest that teachers’ perceptions of principals’ leadership styles are significantly related to teacher job satisfaction, therefore, raising high interest for future research development and practical application in educational settings.

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