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Elementary Principals’ Facilitative Leadership

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TITLE: Elementary Principals’ Facilitative Leadership
RESEARCHER: Deidre J. McAdam
Department of Educational Leadership
University of Arizona
Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation: March 2002

The purpose of this study was to investigate how much of the variance in leadership outcomes facilitative leadership practices account for in comparison with transactional or transformational leadership practices.

The sample consisted of 146 teachers in six elementary schools in a single Southern Arizona school district. The teachers evaluated their own principals by completing the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Bass & Avolio, 1995) – as an assessment of transactional and transformational leadership practices – and the Enabling Others to Act items from the Leadership Practices Inventory to assess facilitative leadership. Respondents also indicated their perceptions of the principal’s effectiveness, and their satisfaction with the principal and willingness to perform beyond expectations (extra effort). The typical respondent was female (82%), with 12.5 years of teaching experience.

Multiple and step-wise regression analyses revealed that facilitative leadership practices was the most important factor (of nine) in explaining effectiveness, nearly twice as important as idealized influence. Likewise, while all nine predictor variables accounted for 80 percent of the effectiveness variance, facilitative leadership was the most significant predictor and alone it accounted for 65 percent of the variance.

On the dependent variable of satisfaction, only individualized consideration and facilitative leadership were shown to have a positive influence, with the latter accounting for nearly twice the amount of explained variance as the former variable. Facilitative leadership in the step-wise regression accounted for 70 percent of the variance compared with an additional nine percent from idealized influence.

For extra effort, only facilitative leadership was shown to have a positive influence in the multiple regression model. In the step-wise regression analysis it accounted for 63 percent of the variance, and idealized influence added another 7 percent.

The author concludes:

“The data suggest that principals’ facilitative leadership behavior [defined by Kouzes and Posner] is strongly related to the principals’ leadership outcomes of effectiveness, satisfaction and extra effort” (p. 88). “The results of this research suggest that teachers perceive facilitative leadership behaviors to be far more accountable for positive leadership outcomes such as teachers’ satisfaction with their principal, perceptions of the principal as effective, and teachers’ willingness to perform beyond expectations than either transactional or transformational leadership behaviors. In each of the three step-wise regressions, facilitative leadership practices alone accounted for 63 to 79% of the variance in leadership outcomes” (p. 108).


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