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Social Work for Black, Ethnic, and Minorities Children

Impact of Leadership Styles on staff Engagement and Student Learning


Many organisations are facing challenges to engage, to drive quality of work, to improve performance of their employees. One of the key answers to these challenges is to develop leadership effectiveness. Many studies have found positive relationship between leadership and engagement. Much of evidence on the studies of engagement pointed out engaged staff is better committed to the organisational goals and mission. They are less likely to suffer from poor health, they tend to be more motivated and show high level of engagement and performance. It seems however that many school’s principals and leadership teams have not considered their styles of leadership as determinants of teachers’ job engagement and performance in their schools. This study evaluates the style of leadership followed by the principal and leadership team of a school whose Ofsted ranking dropped to 3 in 2014 from Ofsted rating 1 in 2011. This study emphasises that transformational leadership style is best suited for school leadership by providing evidence using survey and Focus groups among teachers and other staff. Finally the study also presents recommendations for the leadership team to integrate transformational leadership practices in teachers’ engagement to enhance performance of teachers and educational outcome for students.

Chapter 1: Research Background

Many organisations are facing challenges to engage, to drive quality of work, to improve performance of their employees. One of the key answers to these challenges is to develop leadership effectiveness. Many studies have found positive relationship between leadership and engagement. Much of evidence on the studies of engagement pointed out engaged staff is better committed to the organisational goals and mission. They are less likely to suffer from poor heath, they tend to be more motivated and show high level of engagement and performance (Bakker, 2008).

It seems however that many school’s principals and leadership teams have not considered their styles of leadership as determinants of teachers’ job engagement and performance in their schools (Harris, et al., 2013). It is argued that effective leadership has a positive influence on the performance of teachers (Leithwood, 2008). Ultimately it is the performance of leadership that culminates in the performance of their teachers by identifying their needs and trying to satisfy or meet them. In fostering these aims and objectives, the school leadership has important roles to play (Harris, et al., 2013).

It has been suggested that there are two views of leadership – the traditional view of transactional leadership, involving an exchange process between leader and subordinate, and a view of transformational leadership that allows for the development and transformation of people (Tschannen-Moran, 2014). Transactional leaders are considered to enhance the employees’ readiness to perform at expected levels, by offering rewards for acceptable performance, thus resulting in the desired outcomes desired by the leader (Batista-Taran et al., 2013).

Most school senior leadership teams are seen as not effective in their leadership behaviour because of the way they lead the school, for example teaching and support staff are being used like tools and the leadership team expects them just to provide good exam results. As a result it has negative influences on staff engagement, performance, and commitment and also on student learning (Runhaar, Konermann and Sanders, 2013). For example, Ofsted describe outstanding leadership when the schools principals and all members of the senior management team play a key role in rising staff engagement in all areas. In United Kingdom education, the Office for Standards in Education, Children Services and skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. This organisation regulates and inspects schools and colleges and other services. According to the Ofsted studies (2010) features of successful schools were the strong leadership demonstrated by the principals, specifically in terms of teaching and learning. The report also pointed out how the styles of leadership provided teaching and support staff with a strong role model from which staff could learn and develop understanding of effective leadership (Ofsted, 2010).

Statement of the problem

The present study investigated the impact of leadership styles on staff engagement and student learning. More specifically the study determined the leadership team leadership style using the transformational leadership and transactional models questionnaires developed by Bass (1997) and also the work engagement scale by Schaufeli and Bakker (2008). The questions regarding the relationship between principals’ leadership style and teaching and support staff engagement has been a subject of debate by many educational researchers (Adeyemi, 2006). The controversy has been centred on whether or not the style of leadership of principals as well as the senior management, influences the level of staff engagement and student learning.

In the case of this particular school, in 2011 the school was inspected by the Ofsted and the school was judged to be an outstanding school, which is level 1. The overall effectiveness was outstanding based on (1) Achievement of pupils; (2) quality of teaching; (3) behaviour and safety of pupils and (4) leadership and management. According to the Ofsted two main findings suggested that: “Leaders and managers are highly responsive to students’ diverse needs and ensure that all students, including those facing complex personal circumstances, achieve well.”
“Excellent leadership at all levels is at the heart of the school’s success.”
However, in this year February 2014, the Ofsted inspected the school and the school received grade 3 Requires Improvement at all levels. This suggests that the leadership of the school is not as effective as it was at the time of the first inspection. The results from the inspection showed that the school requires improvement at all levels. Based on these findings, there is the leadership of the school urgently needs to strengthen its leadership approach and also the pressure from the OFSTED inspection, urges the school to improve the effectiveness of the leadership. Effective school leadership is essential for improving the efficiency of schooling. Educational research indicates that leadership and teachers’ commitment are influential factors in school’s organisation and school effectiveness (Hoyle, 2006). Therefore, there is urgency for leadership development of school’s leaders to acquire transformational leadership qualities that are crucial in changing teaching and support staff attitude and improving their commitment and engagement level in school.

The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of school’s senior management leadership styles on staff engagement and student learning. The study evaluates the senior management team’s ‟leadership style” using the transformational leadership model and finds out what are the suitable leadership styles for teaching, support staff and students of the school.

Purpose of the Study
This research chose Bass and Avolio’s (1997) Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (See appendix A) to identify critical transformational leadership behaviours of the school’s senior management team, which includes, the principal, vice principal and the deputy leaders. In addition, the study also uses the Wretch Work Engagement (See appendix B) scale developed by Bakker and Schaufeli (2008), which measures the positive work-related state of fulfilment that is characterised by vigour, dedication, and absorption. This measure was chosen because it can be used in studies on positive organisational behavioural. This measurement of engagement has also been used to check the teachers and support staff level of engagement and to establish a possible relationship with leadership styles of the school’s senior management team. Student learning is linked with leadership style of the school because it has an indirect relation with leadership style. An effective leadership style has direct impact on performance of the teachers which is directly related to the level of student learning. From this author implies that effectiveness of leadership style of the school leadership also affects the level of student learning.

Significance of the Study
The study is significant to many fields but most specifically to the field of education, because it builds upon the available body of knowledge relating to leadership styles and staff engagement. There have been a few studies that look at the relationship between leadership styles and employee engagement. This study focuses on a geographically unique school system with unique characteristics and challenges in. The school system has experienced and continues to experience enormous leadership challenges. This study will go a long way to help principals and senior leaders in ways to enhance their leadership behaviour to adopt a transformational leadership style to enhance engagement among staff and also to impact positively on students learning. The outcome of the study will help stakeholders such as parents, local government, among others; understand the impact of leadership styles on staff engagement among secondary schools in England. There is need for school senior leaders to adopt leadership behaviours that drive staff engagement and result in good student learning achievement.

Research Questions
To what extent do the senior management team practise transformational leadership style behaviour?
Will the perceived leadership style of the school leaders have an impact on staff engagement and on student learning?
What leadership style is preferred the most by the teaching, support staff and students of the school?

Research Hypothesis
H1- The senior leaders of the school will be perceived to engage in less transformational leadership behaviours by the staff and students in the school.

H2- The perceived leadership style of the leaders will have a negative impact on teaching, support staff engagement and on students learning.

H3- Transformational leadership styles will be preferred the most by the staff and student

Chapter 2: Literature Review
Chapter Overview

This section discusses some of the key studies conducted in the area of leadership and employee engagement. The aim is to understand the literature that has been conducted in this field. To begin with the conceptual framework on impact of leadership styles on staff engagement and student learning, then literature on leadership and engagement. The significance of transformational leadership to employee engagement in particular is examined and the cross educational impact is also explored to ensure applicability for specifically secondary school context.

Figure 1: Proposed Framework
Senior management leaders play a key role in engaging and motivating staff in organisation and also on student learning. By being effective leaders, senior leadership enabling teaching and support staff engagement. They do this by interacting and communicating with the staff effectively, giving staff a sense of ownership, providing a good and safe environment for staff to work in, which together lead to excellent school results among students.

The conceptual framework is useful to the study in various ways. First the study is based on the principle that transformational leadership styles impact positively on staff engagement and student learning. The transformational Leadership dimensions includes idealised influence, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation and individual consideration, whose effective operationalization will positively affect staff engagement and it will impact positively on student learning. Given the fact that the study investigated these factors, the conceptual framework is very useful.

The Concept of Leadership
The concept of leadership has been a topic of debate in many organisations and various academics and consultants have highlighted the importance of effective leadership to enable productivity, engagement, commitment, performance and capital return. Leadership is a key factor in building a proactive working place, both by reducing employees’ stress and by acting as a driver for company success, by providing the answers to many problems and challenges that organisation might encounter. Many researchers have focused on different areas of leadership.

There are lots of definitions of leadership. Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. According to Northouse (2007), the concept of leadership involves leaders and subordinates interacting and communicating in a two way process. Much research has been done in this area because of the ineffective use of leadership and also because organisations want to improve and develop their leadership team. The Evolution of Leadership Theories The Trait approach
This theory arose from the “Great Man Theory” this theory considers leaders to possess some sort of abnormal abilities which make them different from others and drive them to success (Bass, 2008). One of the advantages of the leadership trait theory is its emphasis on the detailed knowledge and understanding of the leader into the leadership process and the limitation of this approach is that it cannot measure leader’s performance in different circumstances.

The Behavioural approach
This theory is based upon the belief that great leaders are made not born. This theory suggests that people can learn to become leaders through teaching and observation (Bass, 2008)

The Contingency approach
This theory suggests that the success of leaders is a result of the function of various contingencies in the form of subordinate, task and group (Bass, 2008). For example, the leaders who are very effective at one place and time may become ineffective in a different place.

The Concept of Employee Engagement
Schaufeli and Bakker (2010) defined work engagement as “a positive, fulfilling work related state of mind that is characterised by vigour, dedication and absorption”. Vigour is characterised by high levels of energy and mental resilience while working.

Dedication is characterised by a sense of significance, enthusiasm, inspiration, challenge and pride. Absorption is characterised by the high level of concentration and an individual being happily engrossed in their work (Schaufeli and Bakker, 2004). These three aspects of work engagement are assessed by the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES). This measure of work engagement is documented in various studies for its validity and reliability. Several studies conducted in the area of workers engagement, have used UWES to measure and improve employee engagement.

In recent years, due to employees’ psychological connection with their work, there have been focussed attentions given to this topic. Research has reported that engaged employees are very energetic, self-efficacious individuals who exercise influence over things that happen in their lives (Bakker, 2009). In addition, research findings have shown that organisations with engaged staff deliver better patient experience, fewer errors, lower infection and mortality rates, stronger financial management, higher staff morale and motivation and less absenteeism and stress (West and Dawson, 2012).

Research findings have provided some detailed profiles of workers who are engaged. The Gallup organisation conducted a G12 employee engagement survey and reported that engaged workers demonstrate: (1) consistently high levels of performance; (2) natural innovation and a drive for efficiency; (3) high energy and enthusiasm; (4) commitment to their organisation, work group and job; (5) clear understanding about the desired outcomes for their roles; (6) emotional commitment to what they do and (7) intention building of supportive efficiency (Cataldo, 2011). In contrast, disengaged employees they do little beyond the minimal effort, show less passion and creativity for their job and they are less likely to volunteer for extra work or projects (Cataldo, 2011).

Furthermore, Bakker (2009) identified four factors that explain why engaged workers perform better than non-engaged employees. The author noted: first, engaged employees often experience positive emotions, happiness, feeling of joy, and enthusiasm. Secondly, they experience better health, thirdly they create their own job and personal resources; and lastly, engaged employees transfer their engagement to others around them (Bakker, 2009). Salanova and Schaufelic (2007) suggested that engaged employees are more likely to show positive emotions and this may be the reason why they are more productive.

Leadership and Engagement
In order to create or have engaged employees in organisations, leadership can play a key role in enabling employee engagement. Smart companies, either educational or non-educational, focus on fostering a culture of engaged workers. For example, vision leaders, who create a culture of engagement maintain employee trust, drive the level of productivity, increase over all job satisfaction and drive the position of the organisation to success (Wiley, 2010). Bakker and Schaufeli, (2008) reported that employees who have positive interactions with their manager have raised their levels of engagement in their organisations. Rosas-Gaddi, (2004) suggested that leadership plays a key role in influencing levels of staff engagement and she has noted that having goal clarity and direction impact on employee’s engagement and drives employees to perform well. This is a result of the employee having clear goals and directions given from their leaders.

Leaders are in better position to enable engagement and motivate employees in challenging times. Wiley (2010) suggested that leaders can inspire employees because employees tend to look at their leaders, the way they communicate, their guidance and look at their actions. As effective leaders they send a strong message and that impact helps to drive the perception of objective leaders. Folkman (2010) studied the effectiveness of leaders, assessed by 49 behavioural items which evaluated 16 leadership competencies, and his results showed that the best leaders make a great difference in influencing employee engagement and commitment. According to some research findings, it reported that great leadership generates high levels of employee engagement and boosts organizational performance (Wallace and Trinka (2009). They indicated that modest organizational investment can speed up the engagement of a Manager's Research which was conducted on the nexus between the leadership competencies of top-performing managers and engagement of their workforce team (Wallace et al, 2009).

Furthermore, the relationship between transformational leadership and work engagement is positive. Hayati, Charkhabi & Naami (2014) studied the relationship between transformational leadership and work engagement in government hospitals nurses, the results from the study reported that the relationship was positive significant. They also found that idealised influence and inspirational motivation behaviours amongst the leaders had a positive impact on staff engagement (Hayati et al, 2014). Nevertheless, much research has claimed that engagement levels are influenced by employees’ individual characteristics: a small number of employees can resist becoming engaged in their work no matter what leadership styles their leaders display (CIPD, 2007). In addition, according by DTZ Consulting & Research (2007) reported that organisational characteristics, job characteristics and employee characteristics are mediator factors that influence the relationship between perceived leadership styles and employee engagement. This explain that employees’ levels of engagement are not simply result of leadership styles but there other factors that impact on employees’ engagement levels.

Malinen, Wright and Cammok, (2013) investigated the antecedents of organisational engagement and its influence on withdrawal attitudes of employees, their results showed that employees who had trust in senior management and felt that they had a voice in the organisation showed higher levels of engagement and lower intentions to exit the organisation. This in fact suggests that leaders who give a voice to their workers can enable workers level of engagement. Leithwood, Harris and Hopkins (2008) investigated the impact of school leaders on students’ outcomes, the authors suggested that school leadership has a greater influence on schools and pupils when it is widely distributed. Research on a sample of 110 schools demonstrated there is a significant relationship between the use of different patterns of leadership distribution and the level of value-added student achievement. Research shows that students with the highest levels of achievement attributed this to relatively high levels of influence from all sources of leadership (Leithwood et al 2008). It is important to point out that the findings of aforementioned studies are limited to the target population of the studies and thus it is likely that the same study on different population belonging to different cultures may produce varying findings using the same methods.

Leadership in Education
Educational leadership plays a vital role in educating children. Looking at the state of education around the world, there is a case for concern. Leadership can create all sorts of opportunity to enable engagement by the teachers and students in the educational setting. Not just providing technologies or tools meaningful for the children in schools but also to create and build a culture of engagement. Many studies have found a positive relationship between leadership influence on staff and also on student learning (Leithwood, Anderson and Wahstrom 2008). Engagement will not only increase understanding of the student regarding their curriculum but also will produce innovative and effective ideas for the leadership as result of direct interaction with the students. Since leadership are like suppliers of education and students are their primary customers therefore understanding the needs and satisfaction of customers (students) will enable the management (leadership) to develop strategies that are most suited to meet the needs of the customers and most effective for the organisation and employees to meet the organisational goals (Muff & Dyllick, 2014) which in case of a school is to maximise student learning.

Furthermore, Leithwood and Seashore-Louis (2012) argued that there is a critical connection between the principals and other senior leaders, radiating outwards across the organisation to classroom teachers, who have the most direct form of instructional leadership in their immediate contact with student learners. The author pointed out that the connection is not direct, because it is mediated by home, school and classroom influences. Previous studies support this connection of indirect effect of school leader on students learning (Robinson et al, 2009 & Hattie, 2009).

According to an Ofsted report, strong leadership at every level is critical if England wants to have a world class education and skills system (Ofsted Report, 2012). The survey also noted that effective leadership by headteachers and senior leadership teams is the most essential feature in helping to generate and sustain improvement, particularly in teaching and learning, behaviour and pupils’ achievement (Ofsted Report, 2012). Effective leaders can help the organisations to be successful by guiding, motivating and inspiring employees as well as the students to accomplish desirable goals. If a school has an ineffective principal, it can have a negative influence on the school due to their lack of guidance and motivation of staff. Principals and teachers effectiveness has a greater impact on students learning than any other factor in an educational setting (The New Teacher Project Report, 2010). A report from a study conducted in USA, shows the impact of teacher and principal leadership effectiveness having an increase student performance across many school (TNTP, 2010).

Transformational Leadership Style
Burns (1978 as cited on Bass 2008) introduced the concept of transformational leadership as a description of political leaders who transform the values of their followers, but Bass (1985, 1990) later expanded the scope to include leadership within organizational settings. Since then, transformational leadership has become one of the most widely-studied leadership styles due to its emphasis on changing workplace norms and motivating employees to perform beyond their own expectations (Yulk, 2006). Transformational leaders are considered to achieve results through aligning their subordinates’ goals with those of the organization and by providing an inspiring vision of the future to their employees (Bass, 2008).

Transformational leadership is typically divided into four major dimensions: (1) inspirational motivation; (2) idealized influence; (3) individualized consideration; and (4) intellectual stimulation. Inspirational motivation involves the ability to communicate clearly and effectively while inspiring workers to achieve important organizational goals (Bass, 2008). Idealized influence refers to behaviours that help to provide a role model for followers. Such behaviours could involve displaying strong ethical principles and stressing group benefits over individual benefits (Bono & Judge, 2004) individualised consideration involves treating each follower as an individual with his or her own unique needs and attending to these needs appropriately (Judge & Bono, 2000).

Lastly, intellectual stimulation involves encouraging the follower to be creative and challenging him or her to think of old problems in new ways (Bass, 2008). Transformational leaders have be considered to create a culture of active thinking through intellectual stimulation, and this culture encourages employees to become more involved in the organization (Tims, Bakker & Xanthopoulou, 2011).

Much research has found positive relationship between transformational leadership and job satisfaction. Voon & Ayob (2011) findings indicated that transformational leadership style has a positive influence with job satisfaction whereas transactional leadership style has a negative relationship with job satisfaction in government organisation. Furthermore, Ali, Sidow & Guleid, (2013) examined the relationship between leadership style and job satisfaction among instructors working in universities, results showed a positive relationship between transformational leadership style and job satisfaction. Their study also showed that instructors preferred transformational leadership style over transactional leadership style (Ali et al, 2013). Although the above studies found a positive relationship between transformational leadership style and job satisfaction, it can also be noted that the findings are specific of that context.

Laissez-Faire Leadership Style
This approach suggests that leaders avoid attempting to influence their subordinates and shirk supervisory duties. They bury themselves in paperwork and avoid situations that preclude any possibility of confrontation. They leave too much responsibility with subordinates, set no clear goals, and do not help their group to make decisions. They tend to let things drift, since their main aim is to stay on good terms with everyone (Goodnight, 2011).

Looking at the three styles above, it can be noted that the power of transformational leaders comes from their ability to stimulate and inspire others to produce exceptional work. On the other hand, transactional leadership is about a give and take working relationship, where the leader and follower relationship is described by exchange of rewards system for achieving or completing a specific task (Lai, 2011). There are some similarities between transactional leadership and transformational leadership. For example in an education setting, the two styles of leadership set a high expectation for students and also both depend of the relationship between the teacher and the learner as they both can lead to students’ transformation. Boyd (2009) has noted that when the four dimensions of the transformational leadership are applied in the classroom it provides a clear and familiar model to educators for understanding transformational teaching.

Behaviours of a Transformational Teacher
Boyd (2009) argued that leaders who use transformational leadership behaviours influence positively on their subordinates. The four dimensions of transformational leadership have positive impact on employee engagement and job performance. According to Hoyle (2006) transformational leaders demonstrate the elixir of human understanding, leaders who use this style of leadership create a culture where every person is empowered to fulfil his/her highest needs and become a useful member of a learning community. Other research shows that transformational leadership and contingent reward both contributed to a more favourable work environment (Ghad, Fernando and Caputi, 2013).

Educational research indicates that there is a relationship between transformational leadership and teachers performance, commitment and engagement (Yukl, 2002). Some evidence has been found from another study Ross and Gray (2004) which reported that transformational leadership had a positive influence on teacher commitment. Principals who showed transformational leadership had positive influence on commitment (Amoroso, 2002). Early research by Bass et al (1990) found positive effects of transformational leadership displayed in the classroom. Ross et al (2006) found that principals have indirect influence on students’ achievement. The authors tested the link between leadership and students achievement in 205 schools. The results showed that principals who adopt a transformational leadership style have a strong effect on teachers’ commitment to the school mission, which indirectly influenced the impact on school and student achievement. Harvey, Royal & Stout (2003) investigated the effect of instructor transformational leadership on student outcomes and found that instructor transformational behaviours such as intellectual stimulation and charisma are the primary predictors of student respect for an instructor, satisfaction with an instructor, and trust in an instructor. In addition, individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation are the primary predictors of student involvement (Harvey et al, 2003).

The Benefits of Transformational Leadership in Education
The benefits of transformational leadership in education are vast and should not be ignored. Transformational styles of teaching not only increased effective learning, positive outcomes, student motivation but also improved relationships between the educators and their students. Studies from many researchers have recommended that educators adopt a transformational style of teaching (Bolkan & Goodboy, 2009; Leithwood et al 2008). For example, some research has found some benefits of intellectual stimulation, according to Bolkan and Goodboy (2010) who noted that when teachers were viewed as intellectually stimulating, their students reported high levels of motivation, satisfaction, and empowerment. An early study also reported that subordinates showed feeling of self-worth and autonomy in the work place after their manager exhibited intellectual stimulation traits (Judge, Parker, Colbert, Heller, & Ilies, 2001). Ling and Ibrahim (2013) found that from their study that inspirational motivation was the main factor which caused the respondents to commit to the teaching profession. As a result, ‘inspirational motivation’, ‘individualized consideration’, and ‘intellectual stimulation’ behaviours were predictors of commitment towards the teaching profession.

There is clearly a large body of research evidence all indicating that a move towards a transformational leadership style would have a great benefit. This is not just because it would be beneficial for students but also because it has benefits in terms of the level of teacher commitment and high levels of job satisfaction (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). The question then is how transformational leadership theory can be used as a teaching model. There are many different ways that the four dimensions can be applied in educational settings. Boyd (2009) provided some examples of how leadership educators can use the 4 dimensions of transformational leadership: he pointed out that (1) Idealised influence can be used by educators by expanding students’ worldview and guiding them in a reflective manner about their desired future; (2) Inspirational motivation can be used to set high expectations for students; (3) intellectual stimulation, educators can force students to challenge their own assumptions and the community around them and (4) individual consideration, educators can listen to students’ concerns and support them in any way possible to become self-actualised (Boyd 2009).

The findings from many studies point to the direction of transformational education in school, colleges and at universities. The application of transformational leadership behaviours in organisations can enhance employees’ engagement, motivation, performance, commitment and have a positive impact on students learning. This could explain why many researchers have recommended that educators adopt a transformational style of teaching.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology
Chapter Overview

This chapter specifies the nature of the research design and the population to be studied. In this research, descriptive design was used and a case study approach adopted, since the study aimed to determine the impact of leadership styles on staff engagement and student learning through consideration of one particular school. The descriptive nature of the study was to identify and obtain information on the characteristics of a particular problem in this particular context. This is usually used where the research requires description of the object or phenomenon best suitable in a case study. It involves an in depth description of the phenomena in the study (Bryman, 2001).

Research Design
The quantitative (survey) approach was used to address the research question one and two. The researcher used survey technique to collect vast amount of data from the respondents about their opinions, behaviours and knowledge (Gomm, 2004) and the qualitative (focus group) approach was used to address the third research question. The researcher used this technique to ask participants about their perceptions of the different leadership styles. Some of the advantages of this method are the ability of group participants to interact with each other and it provides also rich amount of data (Silverman, 2005).

The population of interest in this study consisted of school senior management team, who are in charge of the teaching and support staff and students, as well as the teachers and support staff themselves and also students who are in their last year of the high school. The population included all the subjects that had various characteristics that are useful for the research purposes for example all the participants belonged to and are working in the same educational institution.

Sampling Techniques and Sample Size
Convenient sampling technique was used to select participants for this study. To answer the questionnaires and to participate on a focus group, a convenience sample was applied. The research used convenience sampling because it is easier to access the participants and also because all the participants believed to be around working or studying in the same place.

In this study the researcher selected respondents from 1 secondary school. The overall sample of the school is approximately 200 staff and 80 Sixth Former Students (year 13) giving a sample size of 64 respondents out of 280.

There were two senior leaders, 32 Teachers, 10 Support staff, and 20 Students which sums up to a total of 64 participants. 41 Out of 64 participants were females while the remaining 23 were males. Nine students belonged to 18 years of age and 11 were 19 years old. Considering the teaching and support staff 21 belonged to age group 21-30, 9 belonged to age group 31-40, 6 belonged to age group 41-50 and 6 were 51 years or older. Qualitative data was obtained from focus group method and quantitative data was obtained through survey questionnaire.

Materials Rationale
Kvale (1996) explain that quantitative strategy is commonly uses in social science so to investigate various issues regarding human and organization. This kind of strategy relies on the depend on using statistics tests such as correlation test, regression test and descriptive analysis, which is unlike in quantitative methods that only focus on words and quotation of the sample when expressing their opinion regarding the topic. There are several advantages of surveys for the researchers that are conducting research in human resources field. Surveys help a researcher to have wide coverage of the subject matter relatively faster and cheaper. The credibility of the information and data gathered through surveys is high as the respondents are allowed to supply data anonymously and therefore they are less likely to be self-conscious while answering to the survey questions. This improves the validity of research results. However there are also limitations among which the most prominent is that the researcher has a low control over the participants (McBurney & White, 2010).

Focus Groups have a stellar role in human resource management research. Focus Groups refer to discussion or group of discussions on a given topic or group of topics having various participants and the aim is to establish understanding of the perspectives of the participants. The information through Focus Groups in the target population by the researcher is collated. Therefore, Focus Groups act as an effective tool while attempting to understand perceptions of a target population on a particular human resource management issue. Focus Groups allow researcher to gather specific details on the issue through effective communication with a variety of individuals who are able to provide significant inputs that can be analysed to study main aims of the research. Focus Groups provide the researcher to conduct in-depth testing and analysis of the research issue which is useful to comprehend the mind-set of the target population and relate to the basic hypotheses of the research. The researcher gets insights into major perceptions as well as opinions of participants directly related to the issue under consideration by the research. Focus Groups also allow researchers to further explore the data and information during the interview process promptly. The responses of the participants allow the researcher to investigate deeper into the issue and help to gain better understanding of the subject matter (Kvale, 1996).

According to this dissertation, the study uses qualitative strategy to support quantitative strategy. Using both qualitative and quantitative strategy thus would enhance the finding obtained from this study. The confidentially and anonymity has been confirmed to participants.

Construction of Research Instruments
The study used 4 different questionnaires as the instrument of data collection. The questionnaires utilised to measure the leadership styles of the senior management, consisted of structured and non-structured questions to collect data from school staff from a secondary high school. The structured questions collected quantitative data on participants views on the style of leadership practised in the school. The structured questions helped the researcher to get specific information while the non-structured questions helped the respondents express their views.

To determine the answers to the research questions and test the proposed model, a quantitative survey method and qualitative focus group method was used. Quantitative survey was used because it provides a cost-effective and efficient way of collecting data from large populations (Stacks, 2010). The on-line questionnaire was adopted as the technique for data collection due to its advantages of low cost and high speed in sending and returning information (Stacks, 2010). The focus group was used because it emphasises a specific topic that is explored in depth (Bryman, 2001).

Ethical Considerations, Validity and Reliability
The appropriate control and management of the issues related ethics, reliability, validity and bias are essential while conducting research using one or more of the methodologies mentioned above.

Validity is often defined by asking the question: “Are you measuring what you think you are measuring?" (Kerlinger, 1979,p.138, cited in Kvale, 1996,p.238). There is a greater emphasis on the exact degree or extent that the information gathered, assists the researcher in proving the hypothesis (Kvale, 1996). To ensure validity and reliability, the researcher has made sure to be free from plagiarism. The secondary research is carried out in authentic method and all the parts that are used in this research belonging to previous works available work have associated references in proper way. The analysis based on the research methodology is open for testing as well as validity checks (McBurney & White, 2010).

Polit and Beck (2012) define bias as “any influence that distorts the results of a study and undermines validity” (p.720). In efforts to minimize biasness in this dissertation, the researcher clearly identified and selected study subjects, clearly defined the study sample and focus on two perspective, employees and management. The research methodology for any human resource management research must ensure that the analysis and results and findings of the methodology are free from personal and external bias properly. The researcher must ensure that the analysis is objective as well as the results and findings are also objective (McBurney & White, 2010). Personal bias of the researcher must be taken care of to ensure that results and findings are error free and reliable. It is necessary to ensure that the results and findings are error free and the analyses presented in the paper are not affected by any personal opinion and orientation. Such biases most likely create errors in final judgments and thus must be prevented from all aspects of the research papers.

It is essential that research methods used in the study reflect ethical considerations of the researcher and the validity of the information collected can be checked and verified openly and easily. The ethical considerations of the research method are reflected by addressing the privacy concerns as well as sense of security of the participants involved in the research and provide valuable evidence. In addition, the research method must also apply proper checks and balances to ensure that the personal information of the participants are protected in way that they cannot be identified once the research is completed. The contents and material that is to be published should be published only after acquisition of express consent of the respondents. Failure to compliance will pose question marks on the ethical consideration of the methodology of the research and ultimately decreases the validity of the results and findings of the research (Smith, 2003).

Before the research was conducted the researcher sought permission from the school principal of the Trust. A letter of introduction and an Organisation Collaboration Form was signed by the school Acting Principal and by the researcher. Three conditions were set by the School acting principal: that the findings should be used for the research purposes only, the participants should withdraw at any time and the confidentiality of the participants’ are protected. The organisation approved and gave permission to conduct the survey and for focus groups to take place on the school premises.

In addition, the dissertation proposal which contained information about the rationale of the research, the questionnaires and focus group questions and also the Ethical Forms was sent to the British Psychological Committee via London Metropolitan Research Office for approval and the approval was granted for the research to take place. The study has asked the respondents to provide voluntary participation and the researcher has confirmed that the confidential information of the respondents is protected and is used for research only. Furthermore, reliability and validity tests have been conducted by the researcher to ensure high level of reliability and accuracy is maintained in the research.

Procedure Data Analysis
Two types of data were collected in this study namely; qualitative and quantitative data and hence two types of statistical analysis were used. The quantitative data was analysed through the use of descriptive statistics, which included frequencies, percentages and measures of central tendency and standard deviations. The analysed data was presented using tables, bar graphs and pie charts. While qualitative data was analysed through the use of content analysis techniques such explanations and discussions. The data was interpreted and conclusions reached.

Data Collection Techniques
Data were gathered via self-developed survey instrument adapted from transformational leadership (Bass & Rigglo, 2006), and staff engagement using Schaufeli and Bakker (2003), the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale questionnaire. The variables were transformational leadership (idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration), and teaching and support staff engagement towards the organization, commitment towards the teaching profession, and commitment towards student learning

The focus group questions were based on leadership styles, the researcher used open ended questions, probing questions and follow up questions (Gromm, 2008). These questions helped the research to find out the opinions of the respondents about the theme of leadership in school.

Pilot Study
After the Ethical Committee approved, a pilot study was conducted to determine whether the potential participants in particular the students would have difficulties in understanding or interpreting the questionnaires. This provided the researcher with a feedback on procedures and possible adjustments to be made prior to the main data collection. Thus, 4 members of teaching and support staff and 4 students were selected to read through and complete the questionnaires. The pilot study indicated that some students would benefit from help specifically in defining some of key characteristics of the different leadership traits. However, there was no need for the researcher to modify the questionnaires since the students would be asked to complete them in face to face sessions.

Data Coding
The researcher attended three staff meetings, two students’ assemblies and placed an advertisement in both the staff and student weekly bulletins as well as attending department meetings to make announcements about the nature of the research and ask staff to participate. The questionnaires were distributed to the respondents in two ways: via face to face and via E-mail surveys. All staff were sent an email with the link to survey monkey containing all questionnaires. The link with the email also contained a debriefing letter describing the nature of the study, the ethical arrangements and its intended purpose (See appendix D-I). The researcher distributed the questionnaires to students face to face during students’ assemblies. The students then indicated whether they would like to participate in a focus group discussion. On the other hand, the staff replied to the researcher via email whether they would like to participate in a follow up focus group discussion. Then the first 20 people who replied were selected to participate on the focus group.

This discussion took place during the second week and third week of July and included three groups of respondents: 10 teachers, 10 support staff and 7 students. Each focus group discussion took place on different days. The primary purpose of these focus group discussions was to explore respondents’ perceptions and experiences of leadership styles practised in the school. In each focus group session, participants’ were asked to discuss 5 questions (See appendix C).

Before each focus group started, the researcher introduced himself and also introduced an observer who was just present to observe the researcher. All of the participants were pre-briefed and debriefed before and after the focus group discussion took place. At the start of each focus group discussion, the researcher provided definitions of transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership styles to enhance the respondents’ knowledge of the topics to be discussed. The research used a voice recorder and took notes of the responses. Each participant was identified by ID (e.g. comments from participant 4 in group 3 would be assigned the number 3.4 and this helped the researcher to make notes of different responses.

At end of each focus group, each manuscript was transcribed into a separate Excel data base spreadsheet for each group. The recorded focus group discussions were re-played several times to ensure the adequate understanding of obtained data. The manuscripts were checked many times to scan key responses (e.g. what is your preferred leadership style?). This included repeated ideas or responses. This process was followed by making notes about each manuscript using different category codes (e.g. A=transformational leadership style, B=transactional leadership style and C=laissez faire leadership style). Then once the main responses were highlighted, a category system was created to for each manuscript and finally each of them was examined within the context of each of the 5 questions reported in the discussion.

Chapter 4: Results and Discussion
Chapter overview

The purpose of this analysis was to explore the propositions put forward in chapter 1. In this section the findings from the research will be highlighted based on the results from the transformational leadership style questionnaires, UWES and from the three focus group discussions. The discussion will take each research question and examine in the light of the data and in the literature reviewed in chapter 2.

the age table students over 19 makes 55% and students who are 18 makes 45%. There were more students over the age of 19, for the teaching and support staff table, there are a high percentage of employees (50%) who are under the age of 30. The level of education table, it shows that most of the staff either have undergraduate degree or postgraduate degree as both categories shared the same percentage each (47.4%) respectively.

Table 3 shows the experience of the respondents. The table shows that the higher respondents are 1-5 which frequency is higher than the others. This indicates that many of teaching and support staff have knowledge and experience working with senior leaders of the school. As for the students, it indicates 7-8 years which is the higher frequency than the others which further constitutes the percentage of 60.

Subjects studied by the respondents
The information below shows the different combinations of subjects that the respondents are studying in the school:

Psychology Art Finance Business
Biology Business Finance Citizenship
Maths Product Design Geography
Physics Geography Maths Citizenship
Sociology Psychology RE History
Maths Finance Business Product Design
This shows a range of arts, sciences and social sciences, again indicating the breadth of experience of the students.

The extent of transformational leadership practices in the school
The senior management team were presented with a number of items to measure the extent to which they exhibited the leadership traits of idealised influence style, consideration style, intellectual stimulation and inspirational motivation. They were asked to indicate the extent to which they engaged in leadership behaviour on a four-point Likert scale (Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, and Strongly Agree). Using a similar scale, members of teaching and support staff were presented with similar items to measure how they perceive the senior management team leadership traits and students they were also presented with a number of items to measure the extent to which the senior management team and the teachers they come into in contact with most, exhibit transformational traits of leadership styles.

a) Extent to Which Leaders Exhibit Idealised Influence Style

Figure 2 gives information that 100 % of the senior leaders strongly agreed they engaged in Idealised influence style behaviours, while they were rated by 11.4 % of their staff to always engaging in the styles and the students rated them by 16.5%. This shows that staff and students differed with the senior leaders on the extent to which they engaged in individualised influence style, with senior leaders rating themselves higher than they were rated by the teaching and support staff.

b) Extent to Which Leaders Exhibit Individual consideration
Individual consideration style is a behaviour where leaders show their respect for the subordinates and show concern for their personal feelings and needs. The senior leadership team were presented with a series of items to measure the extent to which they engage in the style above. Teaching and support staff and students were also asked to rate the extent to which their leadership engaged in the individual consideration styles.

Figure 3 gives information that indicates that while 100% of the senior leaders strongly agreed they engaged in individual consideration styles, only 23.8 % of the staff rated them, thus and only 10% of the students strongly agree with them. As with Figure 3 shows a considerable difference between the perceptions of the senior leaders and the other staff and students. In this figure, there is some consensus however as the greatest proportion of respondents from the staff and the students agreed, even if not as strongly as the senior leaders did. There is some evidence here then that the senior leaders do display individual consideration traits.

c) Extent to Which Leaders Exhibit Intellectual Stimulation
Intellectual stimulation style is a behaviour which involves arousing and changing followers’ awareness of problems and their capacity to solve those problems.

d) Extent to Which Leaders Exhibit Inspirational motivation Inspirational motivation style, the leaders inspire followers through motivation to commitment and engagement in shared vision of the organisation. The team spirit is promoted.

It can be seen that not all of the senior leaders believe that they never practise inspirational motivation, conversely, the staff think otherwise as 36.9% of the staff disagree to rarely see the senior leaders engaged in inspirational motivation style. The majority of the students agree that their teachers occasionally exhibit this style.

Analysis of UWES results for teaching and support staff sample Next is the response of the sample to the UWES questionnaire presented. The following table show the response descriptive per question:

In the above table 4, descriptive statistics for the UWES-17 items show that the mean scores per question varies as the Likert scale provided was a 7-point Likert scale with 0 indicating ‘Never’ and 6 indicating ‘Always- Every Day’. Because the overall mean was 4.27 for the UWES amongst participants (Very Often- a Few Times a Week), we can conclude that the general work engagement for the participants can be explained as high. The study found some lower means scores as well which reveal that some participants are there that marginally are not completely engaged. In addition, what may be considered high for a typical UWES participant in any given organisation could be considered as low in response to this particular sample size.

Focus group result and discussion
This section presents an overview of findings from three group discussions held at School. The next part of this result and discussion address respondents’ responses relating to each of the five questions separately, including analysis of agreement and divergence of opinions within and between groups.

What sort of leadership behaviour is most likely to influence your performance in the school? Prompt: In both a positive and negative way.

This section explores participants’ responses to the first discussion point introduced during the focus group sessions. The purpose of this discussion was to explore what behaviour is most likely to influence the performance of the respondents in the school. There were a number of common themed responses that occurred across the three focus group discussions. However, each group gave mixed responses relating to the question.

The first response to this question in the three group sessions were:

However, it was mostly agreed across all three group discussion that transformational leadership behaviours have a significant impact on their performance in the school, whether in classroom or in doing homework tasks.

“Transformational because I think intrinsic motivation is a strong of the two motivations, the problem of extrinsic motivation is when becomes absent or the reward becomes absent or the person offering the reward decides to take away, the person becomes demotivated whereas if you are motivated yourself is more likely to be longer term benefit”.

“Transactional, I am more motivated by positive rewards but I am afraid of being punished that’s what motivates me to do well. So I do not like been told of so I work harder that way and I also I need direction I do not want just somebody telling me this is the vision but I want direction and ‘this is what you need to do”.

The importance of using sometimes both of transformational and transactional leadership was pointed out by many participants. Some of them believe that their performance is in some cases influenced by both leadership styles traits.

“Transformational is better because at the end you go to transform to optimised yourself, but in terms of having transactional, having rewards at the end of your course that is what the teacher should lead you at the end of the course”.

What is your preferred leadership style? The second point discussed with the participants had the aim to explore why they have chosen a particular style of leadership. This discussion is significant as many organisations are struggling to respond to many disengaged employees in their organisations. First responses across the three focus group were:
Transformational is better
The majority of the participants opted for transformational leadership style because of the direction, support and guidance given by the leaders. Some suggested mixtures of the transformational and transactional leadership as those can be applied in many situations. Some of the students indicated that transformational leadership can influence them in a more positive way due to the fact of their teachers motivation approach has clearer end goals. On the other hand some participants felt that laissez-faire leadership behaviours sometimes influence them to be more independent learners. One participant stated, “I like when my business studies teachers gives task and ask us to work independently.”

How does your chosen preferred leadership style impact on your performance and engagement in school? In general, participants were extremely positive when talking about their preferred leadership style. They used various words to describe how their preferred leadership style impacts on their performance and engagement in the school. They cited a number of the strengths of their chosen leadership style, including:

“Transactional leadership makes me do my job but there will be a ceiling on that, whereas transformational there is no ceiling, so I can do my job very well so there is no room for growth with transactional leadership.”

“That is where I changed my mind from transformational leadership to transactional, because in the classroom I want my teacher to be on my level and talk to me not like a friend or be patronising like higher up but when comes to exam, getting stuff done, transactional is better and in the classroom transformational is better.” “I am a 100% engaged when is transformational leadership behaviour.” “Leadership would me more proactive if was transformational.” Almost all participants agreed that a transformational leadership style impacts in a positive way on their level of performance and engagement in the school, for example 25 out of 27 participants of the three focus group discussions have indicated that transformational leadership behaviours influence them to engage and to perform in the job or in the lessons.

In general, what leadership style do you believe is being practised by the senior leadership in the school?
This question was aimed to gather information about what leadership style is practised in the school. Discussions of the practised leadership style highlighted mixed responses, as many participants suggested that they think many leadership styles in encountered in the school and many members of leadership team use different styles in various situations.

“Laisse-faire, they just delegate, delegate and delegate.”
“There is no encouragement, to be honest the leadership do not work as a team, they do not know who we are.”
“I think they think that they are transformational but they are very transactional. I think they are convincing they are transformational but they are not.”
“I think there is a mixture. I think they display transformational in areas where is easy for them to display that, when they are trying to promote the way we should be teaching, doing feedback by the nature of the staff, generally quiet hard working it is to motivate them to do that but when comes to harder things like management of behaviour where there is a bit more risk they shy away from that and they become transactional, so where suit them they are transformational.”
“I think there is a lot of transformational around middle management, like curriculum leaders and guidance leaders.” It can be noted that many participants have indicated the mixture of leadership styles used by the senior leaders in the school. Some participants believed that the inspection results from the recent Ofsted visit are having an impact across the school. Some participants cited that:

“Because the situation we are in, the senior leadership team will look to be more transformational.”
“Ofsted is very transactional organisation.”
“I do generally think before there was a vision but I do think the issue was the level between the top and middle management, unfortunately that level has been shift on.”
“Now the challenge is so big and we got ourselves into a pickle and the leadership because they are accountable, have got an almighty task on their head, they themselves cannot fix on their own, that what is worrying.”
Some of the discussion around one of the focus group raised a lot of interesting views, many of them felt that they do not receive enough praise or support from the senior management team. Participants stressed that many leaders in the school lack transformational inspirational and consideration skills. Although, some participants indicated receiving praises and support from the senior leaders.

“I do think they do praise you in a sense that you do get rewarded, they do notice but they do not let you know they notice you, we do not get feedback.”
“But if you ask for support they do help you, but you have to ask it, some occasion in a meeting they have asked me if I want help with my personal development.”
It can be seen that the leadership team uses some transformational leadership behaviours and the staff in the school appreciated that. However, many feel that the leaders do not show or demonstrate that they can be approached for support or guidance. Looking at the overall response of the perceived leadership style practised in the school by the senior leadership, it was largely agreed that laisse-faire and transactional leadership are the most frequent leadership style practised by the senior leaders, but only a few participants have suggested that in some occasion the leaders exhibit transformational behaviours.

In general, what leadership style do you believe is being practised by teaching staff?
On a number of occasions it was suggested that teaching staff uses transformational behaviours both with support staff and with students in the classroom. Many of the participants stated that teachers in the school are transformational teachers, because they influence, they are considerate and willing to help people whenever they can. A number of interesting discussions emerged in relation to the leadership style practised by teachers.

“Teachers are transformational, they work as a team, and they encourage the support staff and the students.”
“Teachers are constantly interested in terms of your personal development.”
“My teachers use both transformational leadership and laissez-faire in the classroom.”
“In the six former they use laissez-faire on the younger students they use transformational.”
“I would say transactional but a little bit laissez-faire as well because the senior leadership they are not always or constantly around you as the normal teachers would be for classes so kind tell you what to expect and leave you to do it and make your choices as well as if you do the work by there is a reward at the end sometimes, I would say is a bit of the both.”
Discussions of the teaching leadership highlighted the mixtures of the different leadership style practised by the teachers; many students indicated that from their experiences, they have found that some teachers practised the laissez-faire, the transformational and transactional leadership styles in the classroom. However, the general consensus amongst participants is that teachers in the school practised the transformational leadership style the most.

Discussions of the Results Research Question 1: To what extent do the senior management team practise transformational leadership style behaviour? It showed a low level of transformational leadership practices by the senior leaders, and did not support the previous studies which highlighted the dynamism of transformational leadership that could impact on staff engagement.

Idealized influence
The practice of ‘idealized influence’ recorded low 11.4 % rated by the staff to always
engage in the styles and the students rated them by 16.5%. This shows that staff and students differed with the senior leaders on the extent to which they engaged in individualised influence style. It indicated that both staff and students perceived a fairly low level of ‘idealized influence’, and they recognized the impact of ‘idealized influence’ impact on staff engagement and student learning. It partially supported the previous research that ‘idealized influence’ as a behaviour which enables a leader to instil pride in and respect for the leadership as well as make him, or her, a trustworthy and an energetic role model for the followers (Rowold & Heinitz, 2007).

In short, teachers, support staff and students rated a low level of ‘idealized influence’ from the senior leaders exhibiting this trait in the school. On the other hand, the senior leaders over rated themselves.

b) Individualized consideration
The practice of ‘individualized consideration’ recorded that 47.6% of teachers agreed that senior leaders occasionally engaged in individual consideration style. Teaching and support staff perceived a fairly high level of ‘individualized consideration’ practised from the senior leaders. However, individualised consideration recorded the highest percentage as 75% of students perceived their teachers to always engage in individualised consideration style. Judge and Bono (2000) have noted that individualized consideration involves treating each follower as an individual with his or her own unique needs and attending to these needs appropriately and that this will impact positively on employees’ performance. In addition, Harvey et al (2003) reported that individualized consideration is one of the primary predictor of student involvement.

c) Intellectual stimulation
It showed that the practice of ‘inspirational motivation’ was rated by teaching and support staff as moderate. Teachers perceived a moderate level of ‘intellectual stimulation’ from the senior leaders. Students rated intellectual stimulation high. The students perceived high level of ‘intellectual stimulation’ from their teachers. The results from this transformational leadership behaviour was reported in Tims et al study (2011) they reported that intellectual stimulation can be used to create a culture that encourages followers to become more engaged in an organisation.

d) Inspirational motivation
It showed that the practice of ‘inspirational motivation’ by the senior leaders recorded 21.4 % respondents strongly agreed and only 33% of the respondents agreed. Teaching and support staff perceived a fairly low level of ‘inspirational motivation’ from their senior leaders. Students rated 52.5% that their teachers to exhibit inspirational motivation occasionally and 15% strongly agreed that teachers always practice of ‘inspirational motivation’ in the school.

The research by Ling et al (2013) relates to this trait and they found that inspirational motivation was a key factor which caused teaching staff to commit towards teaching profession. In addition, Hayati et al (2014) reported that leaders who displayed inspirational motivation behaviours had a positive impact on staff engagement amongst hospital nurses.

In short, the senior leaders over rated themselves on the extent they exhibit transformational leadership behaviours in the school.

Research Question 2: Will the perceived leadership style of the school leaders have an impact on staff engagement and on student learning?
The mean for the UWES amongst participants overall was 4.27 (Very Often- a Few Times a Week), it can be concluded that the overall work engagement for the teaching and support staff can be described as high. The hypothesis that the perceived leadership style having an impact on staff engagement was negative. Considering that the staff perceived the senior leaders to engage in less transformational leadership behaviours, results from the UWES showed that the overall engagement was higher amongst the staff. There are many reasons to explain the high level of engagement. Some research has claimed that engagement levels are influenced by employees’ individual characteristics: a small number of employees can resist becoming engaged in their work no matter what leadership styles their leaders display (CIPD, 2007). In addition, according by DTZ Consulting & Research (2007) reported that organisational characteristics, job characteristics and employee characteristics are mediator factors that influence the relationship between perceived leadership styles and employee engagement.

Research Question 3: What leadership style is preferred the most by the teaching, support staff and students of the school? The preferred leadership style by the participants was a transformational style. The majority of teachers, support staff and students indicated their preference of transformational leadership styles over transactional and laissez-faire leadership styles. This is supported by Ali et al, (2013) study also showed that instructors preferred transformational leadership style over transactional leadership style. This is also supported by Ross et al study (2004) which reported that transformational leadership had a positive influence on teacher commitment. There is some partial support from Ross et al (2006) found that principals have indirect influence on students’ achievement. The results from those studies give broad support to the hypothesis that transformational leadership style trait is associated with higher level of subordinate’s level of engagement, commitment and performance. It also reveals that a common preference for that style is reflected in reported levels of employee and student engagement.

Summary of the findings from the focus group
This section summarises respondents’ perspective in relation to the discussion of the key questions, which were chosen to explore the impact of leadership styles on staff engagement and student learning.

The main findings from this study exhibited that transformational and transactional theories of leadership have been recognised consistently by the participants as well as in the literature. It means that these leadership patterns are effective approaches. Particularly, adopting transformational and transactional (contingent reward) leadership approaches have been demonstrated to have a lot of advantages and are also very important for the development of a positive work environment. Both leadership approaches include dynamic forms of leadership and stress the importance of not turning a blind eye to staff engagement and on student learning through revealing an energetic involvement and commitment. A transformational leadership style requires leaders to take an active role in staff engagement and student learning. A transactional leadership (contingent reward) approach requires leaders to clarify performance expectations and set high performance standards as well as recognise and reward positive behaviours and practices. Key findings relating to each question include:

Transformational behaviours from the leadership team are more likely to influence the performance of staff and students in a positive way.
The preferred leadership style by the participants was a transformational style due to the end goal and to the positive outcomes both on staff engagement and on student learning.
The behaviours of transformational leaders positively impact on people’s performance and engagement and decisions as to whether to work hard at the job or to do well in the classroom.
Many participants perceived that the senior leaders of the school exhibit the laissez-faire leadership styles, but some agreed that they also display both transactional and transformational behaviours in the school.
There was a mutual consensus in terms of teachers leadership styles, the majority of the participants agreed that teachers usually practised transformational leadership behaviours across the school. Whereas senior leaders were perceived to engage in less transformational leadership behaviours in the school. The findings from the focus group are supported by previous studies, Ross et al., (2004) reported that transformational leadership had a positive influence on teacher commitment. Bolkan et al., (2010) found that when teachers were viewed as intellectually stimulating, their students reported high levels of motivation, satisfaction, and empowerment.

Chapter 5: Conclusion, Limitations and Recommendations

Based on the findings presented above teachers, support staff and students differed with their Senior Management Team on the extent to which they considered that the senior management team engaged in transformational leadership styles behaviours, indeed the principals rated themselves higher than they were rated by their staff and students. Nevertheless, the level of engagement by the teaching and support staff was high despite the fact that they believed that the senior management team of the school practised some of the key behaviours of transformational leadership only on some occasions. The research also found that, based on the discussions from the three focus groups, the preferred leadership style was in fact transformational, rather than transactional and laissez-faire leadership styles.

Results from this study will contribute to the limited empirical research so far on the topic of leadership styles and employee engagement. In particular, this study can contribute to research in education about transformational leadership styles and their direct impact on school staff engagement and students learning. Research into the effects of such leadership styles within education, is especially limited and so it is hopes that this work can go some way to filling this gap. Effective leadership is important in any type of organisation. The literature review on this topic has revealed that transformational leadership behaviours significantly impact on employees’ level of engagement, commitment, and performance in organisation. Some studies have also indicated the benefits of transformational leaders in education. For example, a transformational style of teaching increased effective learning, positive outcomes, increase student motivation and improved excellent relationship between the educators and students. This research supports these claims and also finds that there was a mutual consensus in terms of teachers’ leadership styles, the majority of the participants agreed that teachers usually practised transformational leadership behaviours across the school.

5.2 Limitations
Although this study contributes to the literature, it has some limitations. First, the study was conducted only in a single institution in School A, so future research should be conducted in other educational settings in order to validate and generalise the findings of the study to a wider setting. Secondly, only 64 respondents took part on the study, considering that the school has 170 teaching and support staff and 80 six formers students. This places limitations of the study. Thirdly, the findings indicated that employees of the school demonstrated high level of engagement, the implications might be that there are other factor that impact on the engagement. More research is needed to determine what other work factors are correlated to higher engagement and perhaps also whether they are more or less significant than transformational leadership styles.

Finally the assessment of the leadership behaviours was carried out with the senior management team, staff and students. Therefore, the results of the leadership assessment may be limited by the detailed understanding that the participants may have lacked of these different leadership styles.

This study offers the under listed recommendations for purposes of policy formulation:
School principals and deputy leaders should practice transformational leadership using idealised influence, inspirational motivation, individual consideration and intellectual stimulation to increase performance of the staff and student learning. The Ofsted organisation should seek ways to improve the leadership of school senior leaders, middle leaders and teachers by improving effective leadership measures and provide them with more opportunities for appropriate training.

Ineffective leaders have a negative impact on teachers and students performance and commitment. Therefore, is important that the school creates and build a culture or a climate of trust within the school ensuring the practise of transformational leadership behaviours and eliminating ineffective non-transformational leadership practices.

The school shout be careful over playing some of dimensions of transformational leadership behaviours. There is a chance of some of employees becoming underperforming if they realise there is a little tangible reward or punishment for performance. The same can be said for students. The motivational messages should be reinforced with adequate and clear school policy.

The employees’ perception of senior leaders was less positive in terms of leadership styles. Most of the staff preferred transformational leadership style over transactional and laissez-faire styles. The recommendation is to senior leaders to listen and take necessary actions to ensure and change those perceptions. Considering that there are already some positive signs of the practises of transformational leadership behaviours by some members of the leadership team.

In order to bring change in leadership style, the change must be brought by the leadership. Existing perception of the leadership reflects that the leadership is satisfied and believes that transformational leadership practices are in place while the results show that staff’s perception is different. This may act as a barrier to change because firstly the leadership has to realise that there is a difference in the perception and the gap must be evaluated. Now in order to remove this gap in perception, the leadership may follow 5 steps that are summarised in figure 6.

Identifying the reasons why staff perception is different by engaging with the staff and identifying a case example that may reflect the reason(s) why staff does not agree that the leadership is practising transformational principles. Once the case(s) is identified leadership must engage with the staff either to explain if the staff’s perception is wrong or the leadership has to realise that they must bring in a structural change to remove the gap. Engagement with staff and other stakeholders is the key to the whole process and is likely to facilitate the change process by identifying conflicts of interest and reaching agreements with respect to those conflicts. Only after reaching agreements and eliminating all conflicts of interest, the leadership can move to 4th and 5th stages.


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