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Journal of Educational Administration

Relation of principal transformational leadership to school staff job satisfaction, staff


turnover, and school performance
James Griffith

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James Griffith, (2004),"Relation of principal transformational leadership to school staff job satisfaction, staff
turnover, and school performance", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 42 Iss 3 pp. 333 - 356
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Kenneth Leithwood, Doris Jantzi, (2000),"The effects of transformational leadership on organizational
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Femke Geijsel, Peter Sleegers, Kenneth Leithwood, Doris Jantzi, (2003),"Transformational leadership
effects on teachers commitment and effort toward school reform", Journal of Educational Administration,
Vol. 41 Iss 3 pp. 228-256
Kerry Barnett, John McCormick, Robert Conners, (2001),"Transformational leadership in schools
Panacea, placebo or problem?", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 39 Iss 1 pp. 24-46

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Relation of principal
transformational leadership to
school staff job satisfaction,
staff turnover, and school
performance

Principal
transformational
leadership
333
Received July 2003
Revised October 2003
Accepted October 2003

James Griffith
US Department of Education, Washington, DC, USA
Keywords Principals, Schools, Transformational leadership, Job satisfaction,
Employees turnover
Abstract In the present study, the direct effect of principal transformational leadership to school
staff turnover and school performance was examined, in addition to its indirect effect through
school staff job satisfaction. Survey data were obtained from elementary school staff and students,
and school-aggregated student achievement test scores were obtained from school archives. Results
showed that staff reports of principal behaviors could be described in terms of the three
components of transformational leadership: inspiration or charisma, individualized consideration,
and intellectual stimulation. Principal transformational leadership was not associated directly with
either school staff turnover or school-aggregated student achievement progress. Rather, principal
transformational leadership showed an indirect effect, through staff job satisfaction, on school
staff turnover (negative) and on school-aggregated student achievement progress (positive).
Finally, higher levels of school staff job satisfaction were associated with smaller achievement gaps
between minority and non-minority students. This result was more evident among schools having
higher levels of principal transformational leadership. Results are discussed in relation to the role
of transformational leadership in school performance and in recruiting, training, and evaluating
school principals.

Conceptions of school leadership


Classic studies of school administration (Halpin, 1966) described school
leadership as providing structure and consideration. Structure referred to
the extent administrators provided staff and materials necessary for effective
instruction and student learning. Consideration referred to the extent
administrators developed mutual trust and respect, and shared norms and
values among school staff necessary for positive and productive social
relations. In a series of in-depth interviews of teachers, Blase (1987) provided
more detailed behaviors of school leadership. Effective school principals, as
described by teachers, had clear and well-articulated goals; delegated tasks to
others; encouraged staff to participate in decision-making; incorporated others
This research was previously conducted when working in a large metropolitan school district.

Journal of Educational
Administration
Vol. 42 No. 3, 2004
pp. 333-356
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
0957-8234
DOI 10.1108/09578230410534667

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334

in problem-solving; treated staff fairly and equitably; and provided staff


support in difficult situations. Moreover, these principal behaviors were shown
to have positive outcomes on students and parents, to include school staffs
experience of work. Blase et al. (1986) reported that principals initiating
structure and displaying consideration were associated with more satisfying
work conditions, higher job satisfaction, and less job stress. Staffs experience
of job stress was seen as principals lack of consideration and was related to
teacher dissatisfaction. The expanded study of leadership, most notably in
social psychology, offers further clarification of the components of principal
leadership and their relation to outcomes.
One leadership theory that has gained recent and widespread attention is
transformational leadership. Effective leadership, according to Burns (1978),
involved the leaders ability to make group members become less interested in
themselves and more interested in the group. To develop and build group
members commitment to common goals and purpose, transformational leaders
through interpersonal relations appeal to broad human moral and psychological
needs. Moral needs include a sense of goodness, righteousness, duty, and
obligation, and psychological needs include esteem, autonomy, and
self-actualization. Bass (1985, 1990, 1996) further elaborated on processes
enabling transformational leaders to alter the behaviors and attitudes of
individual members. First, charisma or inspiration is the ability of leaders
to provide a clear sense of mission, which leaders in turn convey to members
and develop a sense of loyalty and commitment. Second, individualized
consideration is the leaders treatment of each member as a unique individual
and the leaders willing delegation of projects to individual members,
which stimulate and create learning experiences. Third, intellectual
stimulation is the leaders provision of opportunities for group members
to rethink traditional procedures and to examine situations in new and novel
ways.
Over the last decade, there has been increasingly more evidence to support
transformational leadership theory. Studies have shown that the leader
behaviors are adequately described by the three broad processes of
transformational leadership and occur in different organizational settings,
such as industrial, military, political, and educational ( Bass, 1985; Bass et al.,
1987; Waldman et al., 1987). Studies have also shown that transformational
leadership is associated with effective leaders. Group members commitment,
extra effort and motivation in their jobs, and commitment to the organization
all have been positively associated with the underlying processes of
transformational leadership, namely, inspiration, consideration, and
stimulation (Kane and Tremble, 2000; Koh et al., 1995). In addition, group
members perceived transformational leaders as effective, reported that they
would expend effort for the leader, were satisfied with the leader, and
performed well (Bass, 1985; Bass et al., 1987; Waldman et al., 1987).

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School leadership as transformational leadership


Principal
Recent research supports the notion that principal leadership might be modeled transformational
as transformational leadership. For example, Leithwood and Jantzi (1999)
leadership
factor-analyzed school staff responses to survey items and summarily
described emergent factors in terms of the components of transformational
leadership. These researchers also reported a direct effect of principal
335
transformational leadership on school conditions, such as school goals,
planning, and structure, which in turn showed a direct effect on classroom
conditions such as instruction, policies, and procedures. The direct effect of
transformational leadership on student outcomes, such as identification and
participation, was either negligible or statistically nonsignificant. Hallinger
et al. (1996) also reported few direct effects of principal leadership on student
achievement. Rather, the effect of principal leadership (e.g. instructional focus,
provision of resources for instruction and staff, and accessibility) on school
effectiveness (i.e. aggregated student achievement) occurred largely through
principal actions, such as providing a clear school mission and optimizing
student learning by grouping practices that shaped the schools learning
climate. Other research results support the notion that principal behaviors
primarily affect broad school conditions, such as climate and work conditions
( Blase et al., 1986; Bossert et al., 1982) and that the relation of principal
leadership to organizational outcomes such as, employee turnover and
school-aggregated student achievement progress is best described indirectly
through school staffs satisfaction with their work environment ( Blase et al.,
1986; Hallinger and Heck, 1996). Figure 1 portrays these proposed relations.
The proposition that principal behaviors have stronger relations to outcomes
associated with staff, such as job satisfaction, than student outcomes has
intuitive appeal. The work of staff, classroom instruction, is more directly
related to student learning and achievement than the work of principals. School
staff spend more time with students. By comparison, principals spend more time

Figure 1.
The relation of
leadership to work
environment and
organizational
performance

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336

with school staff providing direction and guidance, assessing and providing
needed resources, and observing and evaluating job performance than with
students. Thus, principal behaviors more directly affect school staff,
specifically, their satisfaction and commitment to work and working relations
with one another. The principals relationship with school staff likely influences
job satisfaction, which in turn relates to staff job performance. As an example, in
a series of studies, Dinham and Scott (1998, 1999, 2000, 2003) reported moderate
levels of teacher satisfaction with a school leadership domain, consisting of
teacher perceptions of administrative and educational support, and school
reputation. Job satisfaction among teachers is also likely discerned by students,
affecting school performance measures based on student learning and
achievement. For example, Steele (1997) has recently documented how
behaviors and expectations of school staff and students evoke negative
stereotypes and performance anxieties among minority students, which were
related to lower levels of student motivation to learn and to perform. The
principals relationship with school staff also likely relates to communication
among all staff, cooperation and collaboration, mutual trust and understanding,
and engagement of staff in their individual and group tasks, all of which are
plausibly associated with organizational or school performance.
Transformational leadership seems appropriate for examining leader-driven
interventions to reduce the achievement gap between the minority and
non-minority students. In the United States, African-American and Hispanic
children have scored as much as 15 points lower on standardized achievement
tests than white children (Flynn, 1984; Loehlin et al., 1975; Neisser et al., 1996).
This disparity has given rise to numerous studies attempting to explain the
differences in achievement among children from different racial and ethnic
backgrounds (Ceci et al., 1999; Grissmer et al., 1999). Results of some studies
suggest that low achievement among minority students stem from less
desirable work environments, school staff turnover, and less experienced staff
found in schools having proportionately more disadvantaged students ( Bryk
et al., 1990; Lee, 2001). Earlier research has associated employee job
satisfaction, commitment, motivation, and effort to transformational leaders
( Bass, 1985; Bass et al., 1987; Waldman et al., 1987). Thus, it would be expected
that transformational leadership would be associated with less achievement
disparity between the minority and non-minority students.
Study purpose
The present study extends current research on transformational leadership by
examining whether principal behaviors can be described in terms of
transformational leadership. This study also examines the direct effect of
principal transformational leadership on school outcomes, such as school staff
turnover and school performance, and the indirect effect on these outcomes
through school staff job satisfaction. Specific research questions addressed are
as follows.

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Can principals behaviors be described in terms of the component parts of


Principal
transformational leadership?
transformational
Do principals who display transformational leadership have school staff
leadership
with higher levels of job satisfaction and less school staff turnover?
Do principals who display transformational leadership have school staff
with higher levels of job satisfaction and higher-performing schools?
337
Does principal transformational leadership relate directly or indirectly
(through staff job satisfaction) to school staff turnover and school
performance?
Do relations among principal transformational leadership, staff job
satisfaction, school staff turnover, and school performance vary by the
student disadvantaged school population?
Do schools in which staff with higher levels of job satisfaction have
smaller minority-non-minority achievement gaps? Do schools in which
principals display transformational leadership have smaller
minority-non-minority achievement gaps?

Method
Schools in the study
Schools under study were all elementary schools in a large metropolitan area,
suburban school district. The schools varied in the sociodemographic make-up
of the school structural, student population, and staff characteristics (Table I ).

School characteristic
School structural characteristics
School enrollment
Percentage of school utilization
Class size
Student to faculty ratio
School student population
Percentage of Students enrolled in FARMS
program
Student racial/Ethnic identification
African-American
Asian-American
Hispanic
White
School staff characteristics
Percentage of staff , 1 year at school
Number of staff per school who completed
surveys (N )
Note: N 117 schools

SD

Minimum

Maximum

500.1
97.8
24.1
11.3

124.25
14.91
1.24
1.85

272
60.85
20.0
6.9

991
131.7
27.3
15.9

31.5

22.4

1.9

92.9

20.1
12.7
16.5
50.3

13.8
6.8
14.1
23.4

2.1
0.8
1.7
1.3

72.2
34.7
61.7
94.0

23.78

8.68

2.9

42.0

25.06

6.46

44

Table I.
School structural,
student population, and
staff characteristics for
schools under study

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338

Analysis approach
A structural equation model (SEM) (Arbuckle, 1997) was used to examine the
direct effect of principal transformational leadership on school staff turnover
and school performance. The SEM was also used to examine the indirect effect
of staff job satisfaction on relations between principal transformational
leadership and school staff turnover and between principal transformational
leadership and school performance. Hierarchical liner modeling ( HLM )
(Scientific Software International, 2000) was used to examine the cross-level
effect of school staff job satisfaction and principal transformational leadership
on achievement disparities between the minority and non-minority students or
the variability in minority-achievement slopes across the schools ( Hofman and
Gavin, 1998).
Structural equation modeling
The school district in which the study was conducted administered annual
surveys to school staff and students. Surveys provided data to monitor school
and workplace environments for purposes of improvement. Survey items were
identified by reviewing research literature relating to effective schools,
school/organizational climate, employee opinion surveys, and educational
research incorporating surveys of school staff. Data obtained from surveys of
school staff provided data for the SEM and HLM analyses. Surveys were
mailed to the homes of all elementary school staff. School staff completed and
returned the surveys in postage-paid envelopes to a central research office. Of
the 8,535 school-based employees surveyed in elementary schools, 3,291 staff
members or 39 percent completed questionnaires. The median completion rate
across the schools was 38 percent. Each school, on an average, had 25 school
staff who completed the surveys, with a range of 8-44 staff. The distributions of
responding staff members across job positions, seniority, and race/ethnic group
categories were comparable to those of all school-based staff members.
Transformational leadership. The three components of transformational
leadership served as predictor variables of staff job satisfaction and
organizational performance. Survey items were chosen to represent the three
components of transformational leadership (Bass, 1985, 1990, 1996; Burns,
1978):
(1) Charisma or inspiration. The ability of leaders to provide a clear sense of
mission, which they in turn convey to followers and develop a sense of
loyalty and commitment.
(2) Individualized consideration. The leaders willing delegation of projects
to followers to stimulate and create learning experiences and the leaders
treatment of each follower as unique individuals.
(3) Intellectual stimulation. The leaders provision of opportunities for
followers to rethink traditional procedures and to examine situations in
new and novel ways.

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Table II displays the arrangement of survey items to represent the


Principal
three components of transformational leadership. Staff responses to items transformational
comprising of each component or scale showed adequate reliability. Cronbachs
leadership
a ranged from 0.86 to 0.96, and item-total correlations ranged from 0.57 to 0.84.
Job satisfaction. Earlier, job satisfaction was described as an important
mediating variable of the relation of leadership to organizational performance.
339
Spector (1997) described job satisfaction as a global feeling about the job or as
a related constellation of attitudes about various aspects of facets of the job.
The global approach is used . . . to find out which parts of the job produce

Scales/Sample items
Charisma/Inspiration
School goals and how to achieve are well
understood
Goals gives me sense of direction
Principal encourages staff to talk about
instruction
Principal gets staff to work together
Individualized consideration
I can talk openly with principal
Principal treats me with respect
Principal supports me in matters of discipline,
unreasonable demands from parents
Principal considers my suggestions
Principal lets me know when I am doing
a good job
Principal lets me know what is expected
Principal provides feedback on job
performance
Principal understands my daily activities
There are school procedures to orient new staff
New staff get help from colleagues
Intellectual stimulation
Principal encourages me to come with new
ideas
I have opportunities to help develop school
improvement plan
Principal makes an effort to involve me in
decisions affecting my work
Staff are involved in decision-making that
affect their work
Staff job satisfaction
I look forward to going to work each day
I would recommend my school as a good
place to work
I get a lot of satisfaction from my work

Number of
items

Cronbachs a

Range of
item-total
correlations

0.86

0.67-0.73

10

0.94

0.57-0.83

0.89

0.66-0.84

0.82

0.61-0.75
Table II.
Survey items from each
scale and scale
psychometric properties

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340

satisfaction or dissatisfaction (Spector, 1997, pp. 2-3). Here, the interest was to
determine the relation of principal transformational leadership on school staff
job satisfaction, which in turn is presumed to affect job performance and
turnover. To represent job satisfaction, three survey items were chosen from
the ongoing school district staff surveys to form a scale of job satisfaction
(Table II). The content of selected survey items comprising of the measure of
job satisfaction is similar to the item content of other job satisfaction measures
in the management and organizational research literature, such as: This is a
good place to work and I often dont think about leaving this job (Barling
et al., 2003; Cook et al., 1981; Ostroff, 1992). The scales showed adequate
reliability. The Cronbach a coefficient was 0.82, and the item-total correlations
ranged from 0.61 to 0.75.
School staff turnover. Staff turnover served as one of the two outcomes in the
SEM. Archival data were obtained on the percentage of school staff who had
been in the school for 1 year or less. These values served as the measure School
Staff Turnover. Such data gave an approximation of voluntary turnover (Hom
and Griffeth, 1995), realizing that some staff may have left for reasons of
retirements, medical leave, etc.
Organizational performance. School performance served as the second of the
two outcomes in the SEM. School performance was calculated by averaging the
performance progress on standardized test scores for students in each school.
To determine performance progress, initial (grade 3) test scores were regressed
on current (grade 5) test scores. Residuals were used to determine how many
scale score points that each students test score was above or below the average
score observed for a 5-year cohort of students with the same initial (grade 3)
score. Values for students in each school were then summed up. Positive values
indicated that on an average students performed better than students with
similar initial performance levels. Negative values indicated that on an average
students performed worse than students with similar initial performance levels.
Resulting school values were called School Achievement Progress and served
as the school performance measure. The advantage of this measure is that it
represents an individual change score in which personal characteristics are
kept constant across time, and individual changes are considered in relation to
other students who had similar initial test scores [1].
Hierarchical linear modeling
Data obtained from surveys of students provided variables for the HLM
analyses. Specifically, student responses provided variable values for deriving
within-school minority-non-minority achievement gaps. Students enrolled in
grade 5 in all elementary schools were surveyed. Survey packets were sent to
the schools for distribution to students. Student questionnaires were
group-administered by teachers to all students in their classrooms. Of the
29,910 students in the 117 elementary schools, 25,087 completed the survey,

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representing an 84 percent completion rate. The median completion rate across


Principal
the 117 schools was 87 percent. Each school, on an average, had 79 students transformational
who completed the surveys, with a range of 35-146 students. The race and
leadership
grade composition of the student respondent sample was similar to that of
students enrolled in grade 5 in the elementary schools.
Level-1 predictor variables. Students provided responses to several
341
background questions in the survey. These variables were entered as Level-1
predictor variables and served as controls in HLM analysis. Gender was
determined by student responses to, Are you a boy or girl? Girls were coded
as 1s and boys as 0s. Minority status was determined by student responses to,
What is your racial/ethnic background? Response categories included:
African-American, American-Indian, Asian-American, Hispanic, White, and
others. Students who identified themselves as either African-American or
Hispanic were classified as minority (coded as 1s). Students who identified
themselves as either Asian-American or White were classified as non-minority
(coded as 0s). Highest Expected Educational Level was determined by student
responses to, What is the highest educational level you will complete?
Response options were coded as not high school diploma 1; high school
diploma 2; 2-year college degree, trade, or business degree 3; 4-year
college degree 4; and masters or doctorate degree 5. Finally, students
indicated how long they had been students at the school, called Years at School.
Level-1 outcome variable. The outcome of interest in HLM analyses was
student academic achievement, specifically, differences between the minority
and non-minority students within schools. Actual student achievement, either
grade point average or scores on standardized achievement tests, could not be
used in the analysis that included individual-level survey data. Concerns of the
teachers union about uses of student perceptions to evaluate teacher
performance precluded collection of student identification numbers that could
be matched to individual student archival data, which included test scores and
grade point averages. Student responses to the question, This year, what did
you get on your report card?, served as the outcome variable in Level-1 HLM
analysis. Responses were coded as 1 mostly Es; 2 equal number of Ds and
Es; mostly Ds 3; equal number of Cs and Ds 4; mostly Cs 5; equal
number of Bs and Cs 6; mostly Bs 7; equal number of As and Bs 8; and
mostly As 9: Responses were used as variable values for grade point
average (GPA). Despite problems typically associated with self-reported
performance (namely, social desirability), the relation between aggregated,
school-level self-reported GPA and performance on standardized achievement
tests was reasonably high (r 115 0:66 for the school districts
criterion-referenced reading test scores; r 115 0:42 for the school districts
criterion-referenced math test scores). Because one research purpose was to
examine the relation of job satisfaction and principal transformational
leadership to the minority-minority achievement gap, it was important to

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342

demonstrate that minority students reported lower GPAs than other students.
The mean GPA for minority students was significantly lower (about one
standard deviation) (M 6:97; SD 1:49) than non-minority students
self-reported GPAs (M 7:99; SD 1:20) (t6; 637 30:97; p , 0:001;
two-tailed).
Level-2 predictor variables. To discern the effects of staff job satisfaction and
principal transformational leadership on the minority-non-minority
achievement gap, school mean values on job satisfaction and principal
transformational leadership were regressed on the within-slopes of the relation
of minority status to student self-reported GPA (slopes-as-outcomes). The
Level-2 predictor variable coefficients showed for staff job satisfaction and
principal transformational leadership would indicate the effect of each on the
minority-non-minority GPA gap. Rather than school means on each component
of principal transformational leadership, a summary score was used in HLM
analyses. This was done for two reasons. First, measures of the components of
principal transformational leadership showed a high degree of intercorrelation
(rs . 0:90), and if entered separately as predictor variables, would lead to
problems of multi-collinearity. Second, results from the SEM showed that the
principal transformational leadership could be described as one latent variable.
Using factor weights from the SEM, school values for the principal
transformational leadership were calculated and used in the HLM Level-2
equation. To control the possible confounds of the schools disadvantaged
student population, the percentage of the schools student population enrolled
in the Free and Reduced-price Meals ( FARMS) program was also included as a
Level-2 predictor variable.
Justification for school aggregation
SEM and HLM analyses relied on school-aggregated responses of school staff
to surveys. Several statistical techniques were used to determine whether
individual-level responses could be aggregated to represent group-level or
school characteristics. To justify group-level analyses, the aggregated data
should show ( Bliese, 2000) the following.
.
Non-independence. A common statistical procedure to assess
non-independence is a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) in which
the group serves as the independent variable and the ratings or scales of
interest serve as the dependent variable (Kenny and Judd, 1986).
Significance F-values indicate greater between-school than within-school
differences in individual responses and gives evidence for group-level
effects (Dansereau and Alutto, 1990, pp. 206-207; Kenny and Judd, 1986).
The intraclass correlation coefficient, the ICC(1), indicates the proportion
of variance in individual responses explained by group membership
(Bliese, 2000). The ICC(1) has values that range from 0.0 to 1.00. Typical
values range from 0.0 to 0.5, with a median value of 0.12 ( James, 1982).

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Group-mean reliability. The ICC(2) is a common statistical assessment of


Principal
the reliability of group means ( James et al., 1984; McGraw and Wong, transformational
1996; Ostroff, 1992). When the ICC(2) value is high, then responses from a
leadership
few group members may be used to estimate the groups mean response.
When values of ICC(2) are close to 1.00, the better group means can be
reliably differentiated. Ostroff (1993) suggests that values of ICC(2) be
343
0.60 or higher indicate mean score reliability.
Within-group agreement. Within-group agreement is commonly assessed
by the rwg statistic ( James et al., 1984). The rwg has values ranging from
0.00 to 1.00. The rwg is a ratio of the observed variation in responses to the
responses distributed evenly across the response categories. Lindell
(2003) recommended values of rwg to be at least 0.50 to justify group-level
aggregation.

Statistical procedures provided evidence that individual staff responses could


be aggregated to the school level and represent statistically reliable school
attributes (Table III). All scales showed differences between schools or
non-independence (significant F-values). School membership accounted for
13-14 percent of the variance in school staff scale scores (ICC(1) values). Staff
scales showed group-mean reliability (ICC(2) values). All scales showed
adequate within-group agreement, as indicated by the rwg values.
Results
Principals as transformational leaders
The first research question was, Can principals behaviors be described in
terms of the component parts of transformational leadership? A confirmatory
factor analysis was performed to determine how well ratings given to items by
individual respondents conformed to scales representing the three components.
Overall, respondent ratings could be summarily described by their initial
arrangement in three scales. Several fit statistics showed good fit; all
exceeded 0.90: general fit index GFI 0:97; normed fit index NFI 0:98;
Tucker-Lewis index TLI 0:97; and comparative fit index CFI 0:98: [2]
The root mean squared error of approximation (RMSEA) also showed a

Scales
Charisma/Inspiration
Individualized consideration
Intellectual stimulation
Staff job satisfaction

F
Significant F-valuea

ICC(1)
. 0.12b

ICC(2)
. 0.60c

rwg
. 0.50d

5.16***
5.15***
5.09***
4.97***

0.13
0.13
0.13
0.14

0.81
0.81
0.80
0.80

0.58
0.64
0.53
0.58

Notes: N 117 schools; school staff, N 1; 791; a Kenny and Judd (1986); b James et al. (1984);
c
Ostroff (1993); d Lindell (2003) and *** p , 0:001

Table III.
Statistics for
determining the
appropriate level of
analysis

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reasonably good fit at 0.09. The chi-squared value, however, was statistically
significant ( x 2 134 4037:13; p , 0:001), normally indicating a poor fit.
However, large sample sizes often result in statistically significant chi-squared
values, even though the data adequately fit the model. Here, school staff
numbered 1,791.

344

Analytic approach
SEM (Arbuckle, 1997) was performed to examine the relations among principal
leadership, job satisfaction, school staff turnover, and school achievement
progress. Two structural equations models were tested. The first model
(labeled Model A in Figure 2) included a test of the relations among principal
transformational leadership, school staff job satisfaction, and school staff
turnover. The second model (labeled Model B in Figure 3) included a test of the
relations among principal transformational leadership, school staff job
satisfaction, and student achievement progress.
In both models, principal transformational leadership was represented as a
latent variable consisting of school mean values on the scales of
charisma/inspiration, individual consideration, and intellectual stimulation.

Figure 2.
Model A: relation
of principal
transformational
leadership to staff job
satisfaction and school
staff turnover

Figure 3.
Model B: relation
of principal
transformational
leadership to staff job
satisfaction to school
achievement progress

School mean values on the scales of staff job satisfaction served as the measure
Principal
of school staff job satisfaction. The percentage of school staff new to the school transformational
served as the measure of school staff turnover. School values on relative
leadership
student achievement across two time periods (described earlier) served as the
measure of school achievement progress.

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345
Relation of principal transformational leadership to staff job satisfaction and
school staff turnover
The second research question was, Do principals who display
transformational leadership have school staff with higher levels of job
satisfaction and less school staff turnover? Model A (Figure 2) portrays the
relations to be examined by this question. Data provided an acceptable fit to
Model A (Figure 2). The chi-squared value was not statistically significant
( x 2 5 3:12; p , 0:68), and the several fit indices were well above 0.90:
GFI 0:99; NFI 1:00; TLI 1:00; and CFI 1:00: The RMSEA also
showed a good fit at a value of 0.00. The three components of
transformational leadership contributed nearly equally to the principal
transformational leadership. The principal transformational leadership
(standardized b . 0:90) showed a strong, positive and significant relation to
staff job satisfaction, which in turn showed a moderate, negative and
significant relation to school staff turnover. Thus, schools in which principals
were perceived as transformational leaders had school staff who were more
satisfied with their jobs and had less staff turnover.

Relation of principal transformational leadership to staff job satisfaction and


student achievement progress
The third research question was, Do principals who display transformational
leadership have school staff with higher levels of job satisfaction and
higher-performing schools? Model B (Figure 3) portrays the relations to be
examined by this question. Data provided a good fit to Model B. The
chi-squared value, was not statistically significant (x 2 5 5:91; p , 0:32),
and the several fit indices were well above 0.90: GFI 0:98; NFI 0:99;
TLI 1:00; and CFI 1:00: The RMSEA also showed a good fit at a value
of 0.04. Again, the three components of transformational leadership contributed
nearly equally to the principal transformational leadership (as indicated by the
standardized bs). The principal transformational leadership showed a strong,
positive and significant relation to the school staff job satisfaction, which in
turn showed a moderate, positive and significant relation to the school
achievement progress. Thus, schools in which principals were perceived as
transformational leaders had school staff who were more satisfied with their
jobs and had greater achievement progress.

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346

Indirect versus direct effects of principal transformational leadership


The fourth research question was, Does principal transformational leadership
relate directly or indirectly (through staff job satisfaction) to employee turnover
and organizational performance? The direct effect of principal leadership to
both school staff turnover and school achievement progress was tested by
including these paths in the respective models. The data did not fit either model.
For Model A, the chi-squared value was significant ( x 2 4 13:73; p , 0:01),
and the RMSEA value was greater than 0.10, at a value of 0.15. In addition, the
path from the principal transformational leadership to school staff turnover was
not statistically significant (standardized b 0:04; t 0:17). Other indices
were, however, in the acceptable ranges: GFI 0:95; NFI 0:97; TLI 0:95;
and CFI 0:98: For Model B, values for the fit statistics were very similar
( x 2 4 13:72; p , 0:01; GFI 0:95; NFI 0:97; TLI 0:95; and CFI
0:98; RMSEA 0:15). The path from the principal transformational leadership
to school achievement progress was not statistically significant (standardized
b 20:16; t 20:74). Formal tests showed statistically and significant
indirect effects of the principal transformational leadership through staff job
satisfaction on both school staff turnover (Sobel z-test22.12, p , 0:03) and
school achievement progress (Sobel z-test 2.38, p , 0:02) (Sobel, 1982).
Model fit for schools having high and low percent FARMS students
The fifth research question was, Do relations among principal
transformational leadership, staff job satisfaction, school staff turnover, and
school performance vary by the student disadvantaged school population? To
address this question, the sample of schools was split into two groups based on
the median percentage of students enrolled in the FARMS program. For each
group of schools, data were fit to Models A and B using SEM. Results are
presented in Table IV.
Data from schools having low percentages of FARMS students provided a
better fit to both models than schools having high percentages of FARMS
students. For low-percentage FARMS schools, the chi-squared value was
Fit statistic
GFI NFI TLI

CFI

RMSEA

0.98
0.91

0.99
0.95

1.00
0.93

1.00
0.96

0.00
0.18

Model B
Leadership-staff job satisfaction-school achievement progress
Low percent FARMS N 59
4.06 5 0.54 0.98
High percent FARMS N 58 12.53 5 0.03 0.92

0.98
0.95

0.96
0.94

1.00
0.97

0.00
0.16

Model

Table IV.
Data-to-model fit
statistics for schools
having low and high
percentages of FARMS
students

x2

df

Model A
Leadership-staff job satisfaction-school staff turnover
Low percent FARMS N 59
2.92 5 0.71
High percent FARMS N 58 13.70 5 0.02

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statistically non-significant, and the RMSEA values were 0.00s. The remaining
Principal
fit statistics also showed that the data provided a better fit for low-percentage transformational
FARMS schools. However, the path from staff job satisfaction to school
leadership
achievement progress was statistically significant and positive among
high-percentage FARMS schools (standardized b 0:30; t 2:38; p , 0:05)
than in low-percentage FARMS schools (standardized b 0:14; t 1:04; ns).
347
This result suggests that principals who display characteristics of
transformational leaders may have more beneficial effects on student
achievement for schools having more disadvantaged students than schools
having less disadvantaged students. The next analysis further examines this
proposition.
The relation of staff job satisfaction and principal transformational leadership
to within-school minority/non-minority achievement
The sixth and final research questions were, Do schools in which staff have
higher levels of job satisfaction have smaller minority achievement gaps?
Do schools in which principals display transformational leadership have
smaller minority achievement gaps? To provide results to address these
questions, HLM analyses were performed. HLM allows examining the relations
of individual- and group-level characteristics on specified outcomes
simultaneously. Here, in the Level-1 analysis, student self-reported
background characteristics, to include minority status, were used to predict
the self-reported GPA. Level-1 output included within-school differences in
GPAs between the minority and non-minority students (i.e. slopes-as-outcomes).
In the Level-2 analysis, school mean staff job satisfaction was used to predict
these slopes or the GPA gap between the minority and non-minority students.
The percentage of students enrolled in FARMS was also considered, mainly as a
control variable.
Before proceeding with the analysis, an unconditional model was performed
to determine the extent to which self-reported GPA varied across the schools.
The resulting chi-squared value (x 2 116 670:57; p , 0:001) showed that
schools differed in self-reported GPAs. In addition, school GPAs showed
adequate reliability (0.82). A full HLM was then performed (Table V).
At level 1, student characteristics accounted for 14 percent of the variance in
student self-reported GPA, with minority status showing the strongest relation,
followed by gender and expected educational level. At Level-2, within-school
slopes served as the outcome and percentage of FARMS students and staff job
satisfaction as predictor variables. Only staff job satisfaction showed
statistically significant relations to the within-school GPA gaps between the
minority and non-minority students. Self-reported GPAs differed between the
minority and non-minority students by 1/2-point on the 7-point response scale
(see coefficient for mean minority GPA slope), and this difference was reduced
by one-half in schools having more satisfied teachers (see coefficient for staff

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348

Predictor variable
Level 1 (student)
GPA intercept
Gender (female)a
Minorityb
Highest expected educational levelc
Years at school
Percent variance explained level-1
variables
First HLM Level 2 (school)
GPA intercept
Percent FARMS
Staff job satisfaction
Mean minority-non-minority GPA slope
Percent FARMS
Staff job satisfaction
Percent variance explained by
Level-2 variables:

Table V.
HLM: relation of staff
job satisfaction to
within-school
minority-non-minority
GPA gap
(slopes-as-outcomes)

Unstandardized
coefficient
7.63
2 0.341
2 0.646
0.295
0.045

Standard
error

t-ratio

p-value

0.028
0.036
0.047
0.021
0.011

270.17
2 9.44
2 13.77
14.37
4.09

, 0.000
, 0.000
, 0.000
, 0.000
, 0.000

0.028
0.001
0.108
0.042
0.002
0.153

273.43
2 10.97
0.56
2 15.54
1.88
2.36

, 0.000
, 0.000
, 0.574
, 0.000
, 0.060
, 0.019

14.3 percent
7.63
2 0.014
0.060
2 0.648
0.004
0.363
69.6 percent

Second HLM Level 2 (school)


GPA intercept
7.63
0.028
273.58
, 0.000
Percent FARMS
2 0.014
0.001
2 12.10
, 0.001
Transformational leadership
0.004
0.098
0.043 , 0.966
Mean minority-non-minority GPA slope
2 0.646
0.046
2 13.77
, 0.000
Percent FARMS
0.003
0.002
1.51
, 0.132
Transformational leadership
0.322
0.163
1.99
, 0.047
Percent variance explained by
Level-2 variables
69.6 percent
Notes: N 117 schools; N 7; 910 students; student-level predictors are grand-mean centered,
except for minority status, which is group-mean centered; school-level predictors are grand-mean
centered; aGender was coded as girl 1; boy 0; bMinority status was coded as minority
(African-American or Hispanic 1; white and Asian-American 0; cHighest Expected
Educational Level was coded as not high school diploma 1; high school diploma 2; 2-year
college degree, trade, or business degree 3; 4-year college degree 4; and masters or
doctorate degree 5

job satisfaction). Similar results were observed when percentage of FARMS


students and principal transformational leadership were entered as predictor
variables (see the last rows in Table V).
To discern the effect of the combination of staff job satisfaction and
principal transformational leadership on the minority-non-minority GPA gap,
the main effects of staff job satisfaction and principal transformational
leadership and their interaction (i.e. product of school values on each
variable) were entered. The interaction term, while in the predicted direction,
did not meet the traditional standards of statistical significance

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(standardized b 0:588; t112 1:51; p , 0:13). The interaction, when


Principal
plotted, was consistent with the expectation (Figure 4). Schools were divided transformational
into two groups based on a median-split of school-level principal
leadership
transformational leadership factor score (based on the earlier SEM). A plot
of the relation of staff job satisfaction to the minority GPA gap showed the
gap narrowed in schools having more satisfied teachers, and this effect was
349
more evident (steeper slope) in schools having higher levels of principal
transformational leadership.
Discussion
Results here add to the evidence that the theory of transformational leadership
describes effective leadership in a variety of settings, including public
educational settings. Staff reports of principal behaviors could be described in
terms of three components of transformational leadership: inspiration or
charisma, individualized consideration, and intellectual stimulation. Principal
transformational leadership was not associated directly with either school staff
turnover or school performance. Rather, principal transformational leadership
showed indirect effects, through staff job satisfaction, on both school staff
turnover (negative) and school performance ( positive).
Role of transformational leadership in organizational performance
Results observed here have strong intuitive appeal. Job tasks of the principal
pertain more to interactions with staff than with students, and thus, principals

Figure 4.
Relation of staff job
satisfaction to
within-school
minority-non-minority
GPA differences
(slopes-as-outcomes in
HLM analysis) for
schools having low and
high levels of principal
transformational
leadership

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350

spend more of their time with school staff than with students. The nature of
their interactions with staff would be expected to affect staffs work
experiences, including working relations among staff. For instance, principals,
by including staff in the planning, problem-solving, decision-making and
implementing of school programs, likely leads to greater job satisfaction,
commitment, and motivation among staff (Dinham and Scott, 1998, 1999, 2000,
2003). Also, there is a likely better communication among staff, greater mutual
trust and understanding, greater cooperation and collaboration, and more
active engagement of staff. In turn, higher levels of job satisfaction and
cooperative working relationships would be expected to lead to a better
implementation of school programs and their intended effects. The extent to
which school performance is based on the outcomes of such programs, the more
the school would be expected to be effective. Such linkages are not only evident
in recent educational studies of principal leadership (Hallinger et al., 1996;
Leithwood and Jantzi, 1990), but also in organizational and management
studies of the relation of employee perceptions of their jobs, workplace, and
leaders to organizational performance (Koys, 2001; Ostroff, 1992; Ryan et al.,
1996).
These linkages appear to be important considerations in reducing the
minority-non-minority achievement gap. In HLM analyses, both staff job
satisfaction and principal transformational leadership were associated with
smaller achievement gaps between the minority and non-minority students.
Gaps tended to be smallest in schools having more satisfied staff who also
viewed their principals as transformational leaders. These relations may have
to do with the positive affect evident in staffs satisfaction with their work. This
affect may translate into positive classroom and school climate, which past
studies have found conducive to positive learning and achievement. Indeed,
several contemporary explanations of minority students under-performance,
such as Comers (1988) School Project and Steeles (1997) stereotype threat
theory, rely heavily on behavioral and affective aspects of the teacher-student
relationship for effective student learning, and have increasingly accumulated
empirical support. Furthermore, the positive benefits of communal, expressive
school environments on student learning have been documented in
educational studies, in particular, for schools having high percentages of
socio-economically-disadvantaged students (Battistich et al., 1995; Brookover
et al., 1978; Shouse, 1996). Though speculative, this may explain why smaller
achievement gaps between the minority and non-minority students were
observed in schools having higher levels of job satisfaction and principal
transformational leadership. It seems, then, that transformational leadership is
more directly related to organizational processes associated with employee
behaviors, morale, and satisfaction, which in turn are related to the quality of
service delivery and organizational performance (Schneider, 1990; Schneider
et al., 1998; Tornow and Wiley, 1991).

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Role of transformational leadership in organizational effectiveness and leader


Principal
selection
transformational
Most of the existing measures of school effectiveness use student achievement
leadership
test scores aggregated to school level (Malen and Fuhrman, 1991; Office of
Educational Research and Improvement, 1988). Yet, much of the organizational
and management literature, in addition to the educational administration
351
literature, portrays principal leadership as integral to school effectiveness
(Sergiovanni, 1995). Indeed, results here support this perspective: principal
transformational leadership had an indirect effect on school-aggregated
student achievement progress through staffs satisfaction with work.
Consideration should be given to the use of staff perceptions of the quality
of principal leadership as additional measures of school effectiveness.
Such measures broaden the perspective of what constitutes effective
schools and include important measures of school processes and
implementation traditionally viewed as necessary for school improvement
and effectiveness (Brown, 1982). Consideration should also be given to the
use of transformational leadership for the selection, training, and evaluation
of leaders, in particular, in educational settings. The components of
transformational leadership might serve as the basis for rating and selecting
applicants for principals. Personal interviews and paper-and-pencil
assessments (Bass, 1985) might be structured to indicate candidates
inspiration, individualized consideration, and intellectual stimulation.
Similarly, the three components of transformational leadership might serve
as the basis for developing the content of training and continuing education for
current and prospective principals. Finally, criteria for job evaluations might be
developed around the components of transformational leadership. Training
could be prescribed for principals in areas having lower ratings.
Study limitations
The present study does not go without limitations. The given data were
obtained at one point in time, results cannot reveal causality among observed
relations. Higher levels of student achievement may result in school staffs
more positive evaluation of the principal and school environment (e.g. less
effort to instruct, more immediate evidence of being effective, etc.). The relation
of leadership to organizational performance and turnover may also be
recursive. Improved student performance and less staff turnover may result in
positive perceptions about the principal, which, in turn, increases staff
commitment. Unmeasured aspects of the school environment may also explain
relations among leadership, performance, and turnover, such as material
support, community support, etc. An area for future research is to sort out these
relations by using alternative sources to obtain data on leadership,
organizational climate, performance, and turnover across several time periods.
Change scores were used in the SEM analyses and have limitations.
Discernible change is, in part, determined by the extent the pretest and

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352

post-test scores correlate. For example, as the correlation between pretest


and post-test scores decreases, then the relative error in change scores also
decreases. Changes are more likely to be detected, but their meaning is
somewhat obscure. The lack of correlation between the tests may indicate that
the tests assess different constructs. Conversely, as the correlation between the
pretest and post-test scores increase, then the relative error in change scores
increases, reducing the likelihood of detecting change (Collins and Horn, 1991).
In addition, change scores may not always mean the same thing. A small
change that occurs when initial achievement is high may not have the same
meaning as the same change when initial achievement is more moderate.
Change scores are also susceptible to statistical regression. Initial large initial
values tend to have later smaller values and initial small values tend to have
later larger values (Finkel, 1995).
A final study limitation relates to the outcomes used in the HLM analyses.
Students reported their GPAs. Retrospective reporting of GPAs may
potentially contribute to the unreliability of, such as failing memory, social
desirability, and so on. As reported earlier, school aggregated GPAs did,
however, correspond well with school means on standardized achievement
tests.
Notes
1. This approach to school-aggregated progress in student achievement is consistent with the
current methods to derive measures of school effectiveness (Fitz-Gibbon, 1996). The
advantage of this measure achievement is that each school serves as its own comparison or
control across time. Additionally, the analysis more closely approximates a correlational
design allowing for causal inference. That is, current school processes are regressed on
changes in student achievement from the previous test administration to the current test
administration (Allison, 1990; Finkel, 1995).
2. Kenny (2001) has recommended an acceptable model fit to the data when the chi-squared
statistic test is nonsignificant, values for the CFI and NFI are between 0.90 and 0.95, values
for the (RMSEA) are between 0.05 and 0.10. A good model fit to the data, according to
Kenny, is when the chi-squared statistic test is non-significant, values for the CFI and NFI
are greater than 0.95, and values for the RMSEA are less than 0.05.
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Further reading
Avolio, B.J. and Bass, B.M. (1987), Charisma and beyond, in Hunt, J.G. (Ed.), Emerging
Leadership Vistas, Lexington, Boston, MA, pp. 29-49.
Guthrie, J.P. (2001), High involvement work practices, turnover, and productivity: evidence from
New Zealand, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 44, pp. 180-90.
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transformational and transactional leadership, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 73
No. 4, pp. 695-702.

Principal
transformational
leadership
355

JEA
42,3

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356

Huselid, M.A. (1995), The impact of human resources management practices and turnover,
productivity, and corporate financial performance, Academy of Management Journal,
Vol. 38, pp. 635-72.
Jantzi, D. and Leithwood, K. (1996), Towards an explanation of variation in teachers
perceptions of transformational school leadership, Educational Administration Quarterly,
Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 512-38.
Pitner, N. (1988), The study of administrator effects and effectiveness, in Boyan, N. (Ed.),
Handbook of Research in Educational Administration, Longman, New York, NY,
pp. 99-122.
Scott, C. and Dinham, S. (1999), The occupational motivation, satisfaction and health of English
school teachers, Educational Psychology, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 287-309.
Scott, C. and Dinham, S. (2003), The development of scales to measure teacher and school
executive occupational satisfaction, Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 41 No. 1,
pp. 74-86.

Appendix
Study
Scales/variables

Table AI.
Intercorrelations
among study scales
and variables

Intercorrelations
M

SD

Charisma/Inspiration
3.03 0.28
1.00
Individualized consideration
2.87 0.33
0.84**
1.00
Intellectual stimulation
3.09 0.37
0.85**
0.83**
1.00
Staff job satisfaction
3.14 0.27
0.78**
0.76**
0.87**
1.00
School staff turnover
11.73 7.36 2 0.31** 2 0.24** 2 0.37** 2 0.41**
1.00
School achievement progress 2 0.551 8.48
0.30**
0.21*
0.28** 2 0.36** 2 0.03
Notes: N 117 schools; *p , 0.05 and **p , 0.01 two-tailed

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