Leadership orientation of principals and teacher participation in decision-making

Victoria Spirko Kniewel, Fordham University


This era of rapid change and complex interdependencies creates challenges that impact classrooms and schools on a daily basis. Recent efforts to reform the public schools have called for the professionalization of teachers through empowerment and involvement in shared decision making. When teachers view themselves as part of the process, schools are better able to handle these changes. The purpose of this study was to explore the differences between teachers' perceptions of their participation in decision making according to the principals' leadership orientation. The data were collected using two standardized survey instruments. The Teacher Involvement and Participation Scale, Version 2 (TIPS 2), developed by Russell and Cooper (1992), was used to determine teacher participation in shared decision making. The Leadership Orientations Instrument (SELF), developed by Bolman and Deal (1991), was used to determine the dimensions of leadership emphasized. The dimensions of leadership were categorized into four orientations: human resource, structural, political, and symbolic. An analysis of variance was conducted and revealed a significant difference at the .05 level. Tukey post hoc tests were used to further specify the significant differences. A significant difference was found among the four groups of teachers in their level of participation in decision making according to the leadership orientation of their principal. The teachers who worked with principals emphasizing the symbolic frame of leadership were most involved in decision making. The teachers who worked with principals emphasizing the political frame of leadership were the least involved in decision making. Symbolic leadership is supported in the literature that stresses the importance of shared vision and team building. This study provides important information about principal behaviors and teacher participation behaviors. The relationship between the way a particular leader leads and its effect on teacher participation is important knowledge for all school leaders in this era of complex problems and issues. The findings have implications for the type of leaders necessary for school reform and renewal.

Subject Area

School administration|Management|Labor relations

Recommended Citation

Kniewel, Victoria Spirko, "Leadership orientation of principals and teacher participation in decision-making" (1999). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9947862.