Implementing the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) in a challenging context: results from a large-scale quantitative study
Van Jaarsveld, Leentjie
Mentz, P.J. (Kobus)
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Purpose An emphasis on school performance is not just a national issue, but must be examined within the global context. Successful leadership is ensured by school leaders’ compliance to a set of basic practices within particular school contexts. The impact of leadership styles on performance, the work environment and job satisfaction is emphasized, while the appropriate leadership style could make teachers more effective in terms of job productivity. The adoption of different leadership styles by school leaders shows positive results with regard to school effectiveness. The purpose of this paper is to describe school leadership styles and the influence the styles have on school performance. Design/methodology/approach A quantitative approach with a post-positive paradigm was followed. A systematic random sample of 72 secondary schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, was selected. The Cronbach’s α coefficient, statistical significance (p-values) and effect size (d-values) were calculated, and a factor analysis was conducted. Findings The results show a difference between teachers and principals regarding the transformational leadership style. The principals in the high-performing schools were perceived as less passive-avoidant in practice than those in the low-performing schools. A principal manages and leads a school effectively by applying an appropriate leadership style. Research limitations/implications For future research, it will be advisable to make use of a mixed-method design. Although the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire addressed numerous aspects of leadership and leadership styles, the “voice” of the respondents lacked. Furthermore, more leadership styles could be investigated in different contexts. Practical implications A chosen principal leadership style is not necessarily the best style for this purpose. School principals and teachers interpret leadership styles differently. Communication is therefore important. Social implications The principal leadership style is not always necessarily the teachers’ and learners’ choice. It is important that schools keep up with a constantly changing world. Originality/value If school principals and teachers agree upon a specific leadership style, there may be better collaboration which enhances better academic performance as well as effectiveness regarding schools.