Teachers’ perceptions of the role of school leadership in supporting intrinsic motivation

Jacek Polubiec, Fordham University


The costly phenomenon of teacher attrition undermined efforts for school improvement, and by affecting urban schools to a greater degree, contributed to educational inequality. Teachers entered the profession for intrinsic reasons and when they left, they claimed the lack of support from administration contributed to their departure. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore, describe, and shed light on the role of school leaders in supporting intrinsic motivation of teachers. The study was an examination of how teachers perceived what motivated them to work, as well as how they perceived school leader behavior supported intrinsic motivation. The data for the study was from interviews with a diverse group of 10 teachers. The theoretical framework was self-determination theory and the managerial grid. Data analysis took place within the qualitative paradigm, and the findings appeared as a combination of participant experiences and researcher interpretation of participant perceptions to provide a rich description of the phenomenon from the viewpoints of the participants. While teachers were motivated by intrinsic factors, the school leaders’ views of motivation were unclear because motivation was rarely discussed in the schools. While some leaders engaged in behaviors that either supported or undermined intrinsic motivation, no evidence indicated the school leaders supported intrinsic motivation in a purposeful and effective manner.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|School administration

Recommended Citation

Polubiec, Jacek, "Teachers’ perceptions of the role of school leadership in supporting intrinsic motivation" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10154263.