PRINCIPAL LEADERSHIP AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT: WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF
TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN CONJUNCTION WITH INSTRUCTIONAL
LEADERSHIP ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT?
Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Specialization: Leadership Studies
Under the Supervision of
Marilyn J. Bugenhagen, Ph.D., chairperson
Jon Nicoud, Ph.D.
Moreen Travis Carvan, Ed.D.
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
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PRINCIPAL LEADERSHIP AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT:
WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN CONJUNCTION
WITH INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP
ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT?
The purpose of this quantitative correlational research study was to develop a better
understanding of how successful principals lead and more importantly how they help their
students achieve at higher levels through their role as principal. The study focused on the
principal’s role in providing instructional leadership as defined by Krug (1992), transformational
leadership as defined by Bass and Avolio (1995), specifically in the context of elementary
education, and measuring the effect these principal leadership constructs have on student
The study was designed to determine if there was a benefit derived by principals who
attend to at least three of the five dimensions of instructional leadership and practice at least
three of the four transformational leadership behaviors. The five dimensions of instructional
leadership are: defining mission, managing curriculum and instruction, supervising and
supporting teaching, monitoring student progress, and promoting instructional climate. The four
transformational leadership behaviors are: idealized influence, inspirational motivation,
intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration.
The study sample was drawn from public schools in Cooperative Educational Service
Agencies 2-12 in the State of Wisconsin, an area that covers 90% of the state excluding the large
metropolitan areas in and around Milwaukee. Results revealed no statistically significant
correlations between principals who did or did not exhibit transformational and or instructional
leadership and higher academic student performance. Post-hoc analysis revealed statistically
significant correlational coefficients between management-by-exception passive and high student
achievement r = .515 for reading, r = .479 for language arts, and r = .567 for math with n = 31
and p < .05, two tails. These findings indicate that previous research findings may be in
question for both instructional leadership and transformational leadership constructs.
I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to my research advisor, Dr. Marilyn J.
Bugenhagen. I am grateful to have had her advising me through this research study. Dr.
Bugenhagen is cognizant of the time and effort invested in this type of work and pragmatically
helped me to addresses the challenges and frustrations that accompany it. Throughout the course
of my program, Dr. Bugenhagen has been the driving force which has taken me to a higher plain,
mentally, and professionally.
I sincerely thank my committee members for the time and effort they spent in this
process, Dr. Moreen Travis Carvan and Dr. Jon Nicoud. Dr. Carvan and Nicoud are exceptional
individuals who I admire in the classroom setting.
I would also like to thank Dr. Randall J. Koetting who saw my potential to succeed as a
member of the doctoral program.
I would like to thank Dr. Zhao Xia Xu, my classmate and colleague, for assisting me with
gathering additional participants for my study, for sharing both our successes and frustrations,
and for being a friend through this process.
I would also like to thank my parents for recognizing the value of education, ensuring I
had a sound foundation at an early age for future learning, and instilling in me the work ethic that
has enabled me to be successful in all my endeavors.
PRINCIPAL LEADERSHIP AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT:
WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN CONJUNCTION
WITH INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP
ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT?
Marilyn J. Bugenhagen Ph.D.
Moreen Travis Carvan Ed.D.
Jon Nicoud Ph.D.
Edward Ogle, Ed.D.
Executive Vice President Academic & Student Afairs
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION ……………………………...…………….………… 1
Purpose Statement ……………………………………………….…… 3
Context ………………………………………………………….…….. 3
Theoretical Base ………………………………………….………….... 5
Research Question ………………………………….…………………. 8
Method ……………………………………….…………………….….. 9
Assumptions …………………………….………………………….…. 10
Delimitations and Limitations ……….…………………………….….. 11
Significance of Research …………………….……………………..…. 12
Conclusion ………………………………….…………………………. 15
II. LITERATURE REVIEW ……………………...………………………... 18
Effective Schools Movement .………………..……………………….. 19
Full-Range Leadership: Transformational and Transactional ….……… 40
Transformational Leadership Studied in Educational Context ………... 45
Summary ………………………………………………………………. 58
III. METHOD ………………………………...……………………………… 61
General Framework ………………………………………….………... 61
Hypotheses ………………………………………………….…………. 63
Data Collection Procedure(s) ……………………………….…………. 64
Sample Design …………………………………………….…………… 67
Instrumentation …………………………………………….………….. 68
Data Analysis ………………………………………………………….. 80
Limitations ………………………………………………….…………. 83
Summary ………………………………………………………………. 84
IV. RESULTS ……………………………...………………………………... 85
Demographics …………………………………….…………………… 85
Data Collection Procedures …………………………….……………... 90
Preliminary Analytical Issues ……………….………………..……….. 93
Hypothesis Tests ………………………………….…………………… 99
Summary of Results …………………………………………………… 128
V. SUMMARY and CONCLUSIONS ……………………………………... 130
Discussion ……………………………..…………………….………… 134
Implications ………………..………………………….……….……… 145
Contribution of This Study …...……………………….……….……… 148
Limitations …………………………………………………….………. 150
Recommendations for Future Research ……………………….………. 151
Summary …………………………………………………….………… 153
REFERENCES ……………………………………………………………………. 156
Appendix A: Definition of Terms ………………………………………. 170
Appendix B: Principal Invitation Letter of Participation ……………….. 174
Appendix C: IRB Approval Email ………………………………………. 177
Appendix D: Teacher Letter of Consent ………………………………… 182
Appendix E: Principal Invitation Letter of Participation ………………... 185
Appendix F: Teacher Invitation Letter of Participation ………………… 188
Appendix G: Second Teacher Invitation Letter of Participation ………… 191
Appendix H: IRB Approval Email ………………………………………. 194
LIST OF TABLES
1. Content Validation: Average Agreement on Items Among Judges ……… 70
2. Reliability Estimates for the Instructional Management Subscale ………... 71
3. Subscale Inter-item Correlation Matrix …………………………………… 73
4. Subscale Inter-item Correlation Matrix for this Study …………………… 74
5. Subscale Inter-item Correlation Matrix (after aggregation to depict
the Krug model) …………………………………………………………… 75
6. Summary of Criteria to Assess the Adequacy of the Instructional
Management Rating Subscales ……………………………………………. 76
7. Inter-item Correlational Matrix for Transformational Behavior
for this Study ................................................................................................ 80
8. Participants Years as Principal (n = 31) ………………………………….. 86
9. Participant Principals’ Age (n = 31) ………………………………………. 86
10. Women Participants Years as Principal (n = 17) ………………………….. 87
11. Women Participant Principals’ Age (n = 17) ……………………………… 87
12. Men Participants Years as Principal (n = 14) ……………………………... 88
13. Men Participant Principals’ Age (n = 14) …………………………………. 88
14. Rater Participants Years with Principal (n = 107) ………………………… 89
15. Rater Participant Age (n = 107) …………………………………………… 90
16. Leader and Rater Simple Statistics and Multifactor Leadership
Questionnaire Comparison ………………………………………………… 94
17. Pearson Correlation Matrix on Hypotheses ……………………..………… 100
18. Kendall’s tau-b Correlation Matrix on Hypotheses ………………………..102
19. Spearman’s rho Correlation Matrix on Hypotheses ………………………. 104
20. Pearson Correlation Matrix on Hypotheses with specific
WKCE score ranges (n = 31) ………………………………………………106
21. Kendall’s Correlation Matrix - Hypotheses with specific
WKCE score ranges (n = 31) ………………………………………………109
22. Spearman’s Correlation Matrix - Hypotheses with specific
WKCE score ranges (n = 31) ………………………………………………112
23. Pearson Correlation Matrix on Hypotheses for Men
Principals (n = 14) ………………………………………………………… 113
24. Kendall’s tau-b Correlation Matrix on Hypotheses for
Men Principals (n = 14) …………………………………………………… 115
25. Spearman’s rho Correlation Matrix on Hypotheses for
Men Principals (n = 14) …………………………………………………… 117
26. Pearson Correlation Matrix on Hypotheses for Women
Principals (n = 17) ………………………………………………………… 119
27. Kendall’s tau-b Correlation Matrix on Hypotheses for Women
Women Principals (n = 17) ……………………………………………….. 121
28. Spearman’s rho Correlation Matrix on Hypotheses for
Women Principals (n = 17) ……………………………………………….. 123
29. Pearson Correlation Matrix on Laissez-faire for Principals (n = 31) ……... 125
30. Pearson Correlation Matrix on Laissez-faire for Women
Principals (n = 17) ………………………………………………………… 126
31. Pearson Correlation Matrix on Laissez-faire for Men
Principals (n = 14) ………………………………………………………… 127
32. Pearson Correlation Matrix on Management-by-Exception Passive
For Principals (n = 31) ……………………………………………………. 128
The quality of a school in the PK-12 arena is affected by how its internal processes work
to constantly improve its performance. One such internal process involves leadership. As its
basic purpose, instructional leadership designates the school principal as the central school figure
to continuously articulate the school’s mission and vision to the school’s staff and community.
The school principal oversees curriculum and instruction management and facilitates teachers’
professional development that is supportive of best practice. The school principal monitors
student progress to provide individual attention for specific students and to identify areas of
curriculum and instruction in need of change or improvement. The school principal is also
tasked with promoting a positive learning environment. However, there is question regarding the
principalship and school administration in general. According to Murphy (2002):
For some time now, the [education] profession has been marked by considerable
ferment as it has struggled to locate itself in a post behavioral science era. During
this era of turmoil, the historical foundations of the profession have been thrown
into question, especially the legitimacy of the knowledge base supporting school
administration and the appropriateness of programs for preparing school leaders.
Leadership, in education and in business, is an evolving discipline. School principals and
aspiring administrators need to become familiar with leadership as a discipline to practice, learn
their strengths and weaknesses, infuse themselves with best practice so they can provide
leadership that best fits their circumstances, and work diligently to perfect and implement the
behaviors that will enable deep sustained improvement in schools.
A range of leadership theories were developed encompassing characteristics from a broad
understanding that evolved from the early industrial era to the rapidly changing political,
business, and educational perspectives of the 21st
century. In the field of PK-12 education,
during the past twenty eight years there have been a number of notable studies of instructional
leadership (e.g. Andrews & Soder, 1987; Bossert, Dwyer, Rowan, & Lee, 1982; Dwyer, 1985;
Edmonds, 1979; Hallinger & Murphy , 1985; Leithwood, Begley, & Cousins, 1990; Leithwood
& Montgomery, 1982). Although there has been significant work in developing theoretical
constructs of leadership for the PK-12 educational arena and attempts to define leadership in
broad terms, the focus on defining instructional leadership has been prevalent for the past twenty
years. While Leithwood and Steinbach (1993) produced a study on total quality leadership that
involved transformational leadership, the majority of research involving the effects of
transformational leadership in the PK-12 educational arena has occurred since 2000.
According to Krug (1992), instructional leadership is a combination of five dimensions of
the principal’s role: “defining mission, managing curriculum and instruction, supervising and
supporting teaching, monitoring student progress, and promoting instructional climate” (p. 5).
A basic understanding of these five dimensions of instructional leadership is: defining mission is
framing the school’s goals, purpose, and mission to drive decision making and design.
Managing curriculum and instruction is structuring programs and curriculum so there is
coherence and alignment both within specific curricula and across programs. Supervising and
supporting teachers involves providing professional development that incorporates various
strategies related to instruction and learner needs. Supporting teachers also involves developing
teacher’s human capital. Monitoring student progress is a process which involves interpreting
and assessing relevant data to produce criteria for teacher instruction that best meets individual
learner needs. Promoting instructional climate is the development of a sound learning
environment. Krug presented empirical evidence that a direct correlation exists between these
five dimensions of instructional leadership and student achievement.
The purpose of this study was to develop a better understanding of how successful
principals lead and more importantly how they assist their students achieve at higher levels
through their role as principal. The study was conducted to determine if there existed a benefit
derived for students in terms of higher academic achievement if principals attend to the various
dimensions of instructional leadership and practice transformational leadership behaviors.
The demand on the school principal, in terms of managerial work, is a result of a number
of factors. State and federal departments of educations’ require creation of new policy writing,
policy review and up-dating. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) introduced
significant requirements that demand accountability through testing and a growing number of
reporting documents. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 (IDEA) also has
significant requirements to which all schools must conform and require administrative oversight
on the part of the principal. This continually growing work load consumes an exceptional
amount of time in the work day. The result is that important instructional leadership dimensions
of the principal’s work load, defined by Krug (1992b) as “defining mission, managing
curriculum and instruction, supervising and supporting teaching, monitoring student progress,
and promoting instructional climate” (p. 5) often are not attended to nearly as much as it should
The U.S. Department of Education conducted a policy forum on educational leadership
over a two day period involving more than forty leading experts in the field of leadership. “Most
participants agreed that the number one characteristic of an effective leader is the ability to
provide instructional leadership. Yet . . . some studies suggest that as many as three-quarters of
current principals are not skilled instructional leaders” (Riley, McGuire, Lieb, & Dorfman, 1999,
p. 4). According to Peterson (1989)
Universities, colleges, and professional organizations that educate school
administrators . . . during in-service workshops should design distinctive training
activities. These activities could focus on exerting influence through others,
building school cultures, and shaping improvement programs in . . . school
settings. Without more attention from principals, policy makers, and those
training administrators, instructional leadership in . . . schools may remain
relatively weak, when it could have a powerful impact on school improvement (p.
Identifying leadership behavior school principals need to encompass and display may or
may not be the key to success in public education since each behavior may or may not
match with an individual principal’s personality. However, given the consensus of
participants of the U.S. Department of Education policy forum on educational leadership
it does seem to have merit that principals should develop behaviors that foster leadership.
Peterson (2002) suggested that “Over the next 5 years, districts are expected to replace
more than 60% of all principals” (p. 213). The five years Peterson referred to have since passed.
Since the most significant work in developing and defining instructional leadership occurred
during the late 1980’s and 1990’s one might expect that academia would have evolved to prepare
the individuals who are new to the principalship role. Unfortunately, Grogan and Andrews
(2002) state that many institutions follow tradition, “most university-based programs for the
training of aspiring principals . . . might best be characterized as preparing aspiring principals …
for the role of a top-down manager” (p. 238). The emphasis on student achievement and
accountability for learning has raised the bar for students to leave the K-12 arena with the ability
to succeed in a global economy by means of sound preparation for post secondary learning or
having harnessed the skills necessary to move directly into the work force (Fulmer, 2006).
Principals need preparation as instructional leaders to set high standards for achievement, to
create a positive school culture for learning, and to develop the vision and school mission which
entails a shared sense of purpose throughout their school’s community which will enable
students to be academically successful (Chrispeels, 2002; Hallinger, 2003).
On January 8, 2002, President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act of
2001. Fulmer (2006) states:
State and national standards have been enacted and implemented in an attempt to
improve student achievement and close the achievement gap (e.g., CSAP and
NCLB). Since this legislation, responsibilities for principals have burgeoned to
the extent that some fear the job can no longer be done by one person. (p. 110)
This drive for accountability and raising achievement of all students to meet their potential for
learning has placed a significant focus on instructional leadership.
The debate as to whether PK-12 education should or should not be driven by state and
national standards was not addressed. NCLB has placed principals and PK-12 administrators, in
general, in an accountability mode so that all students will be successful learners.
This study draws from two theoretical constructs including instructional leadership
(Krug, 1992b) and full-range leadership (Avolio & Bass, 1995). Three decades of research
exists that supports current beliefs and understandings of instructional leadership. The idea of
instructional leadership began as a result of backlash within the education research community to
the 1966 Coleman report that suggested family background was the major determinant of student
achievement (Coleman et. al., 1966). Factors such as poverty or a parent’s lack of education
prevented children from learning regardless of the method of instruction or school (Edmonds &
Frederiksen, 1979; Jencks, 1972; Lezotte, 1992; Mace-Matluck, 1987). Coleman’s report
stimulated spirited reactions that instigated a number of studies:
• D’Amico (1982), The Effective Schools Movement: Studies, Issues, and Approaches
• Edmonds (1979), Effective schools for the urban poor
• Edmonds & Frederiksen (1997), Search for Effective Schools: The Identification and
Analysis of City Schools that are Instructionally Effective for Poor Children
• Frederiksen (1980), Models for Determining School Effectiveness
• Hallinger & Heck (1998), Exploring the principal’s contribution to school Effectiveness:
• Klitgaard & Hall (1975), Are there unusually effective schools?
• Weber (1971), Inner-city children can be taught to read: Four successful schools.
These studies were initiated during what is referred to as the effective schools movement in the
United States. Although a jump to transformational leadership occurred, Hallinger (2005) shows
that instructional leadership is very much alive in his article: “Instructional Leadership and the
School Principal: A Passing Fancy that Refuses to Fade Away”.
During the late 1980’s and beyond, education research in the area of leadership in general
jumped to transformational leadership studies such as:
• Barnett, McCormick & Conners (2001), Transformational Leadership in Schools: Panacea,
Placebo, or Problem?
• Gardin (2003), Impact of Leadership Behavior of Principals on Elementary School Climate
• Gulbin (2008), Transformational Leadership: Is it a Factor for Improving Student
Achievement in High Poverty Secondary Schools in Pennsylvania
• Hallinger (2003), Leading Educational Change: Reflections on the Practice of Instructional
and Transformational Leadership
• Jantzi & Leithwood (1996), Toward an Explanation of Variation in Teachers Perception of
• Leithwood (1992), Transformational Leadership: Where does it Stand?
• Leithwood & Jantzi (1999a), Transformational School Leadership Effects: A Replication
• Leithwood & Jantzi (1999b), The Effects of Transformational Leadership on Organizational
Conditions and Student Engagement with School
• Leithwood & Jantzi (2000b), The Effects of Transformational Leadership on Organizational
Conditions and Student Engagement with School
• Leithwood & Jantzi (2006), Transformational School Leadership for Large-Scale Reform:
Effects on Students, Teachers, and their Classroom Practices
• Leithwood, Jantzi & Fernandez (1993), Secondary School Teachers’ Commitment to
Change: The Contributions of Transformational Leadership
• Leithwood & Steinbach (1993), Total Quality Leadership: Expert Thinking Plus
• Marks & Printy (2003), Principal Leadership and School Performance: An Integration of
Transformational and Instructional Leadership
• Mills (2008), Leadership and School Reform: The Effects of Transformational Leadership on
• Philbin (1997), Transformational Leadership and the Secondary School Principal
• Ross & Gray (2006), Transformational Leadership and Teacher Commitment to
Organizational Values: The Mediating Effects of Collective Teacher Efficacy
• Verona & Young (2001), The Influence of Principal Transformational Leadership Style on
High School Proficiency Test Results in the New Jersey Comprehensive and Vocational
Suddenly, instructional leadership took a backseat in the research community. This change may
have been warranted, but instructional leadership should continue to play a role in educational
leadership research in conjunction with transformational leadership.
The focus of this study was to explore the principal’s role in providing instructional
leadership as defined by Krug (1992), transformational leadership as defined by Bass and Avolio
(1995), specifically in the context of elementary education, and measuring the possible effect this
principal leadership has on student achievement. Hypotheses address the correlation of
instructional leadership in conjunction with transformational leadership and student achievement
outcomes as measured by standardized testing which measure instructional outcomes. The
research question this study explored, “What is the effect of transformational leadership in
conjunction with instructional leadership on student achievement?”
Independent variables were instructional leadership and transformational leadership
practices. The dependent variable was student achievement.
This study utilized a correlational approach to examine two leadership constructs,
instructional leadership and transformational leadership, in the realm of elementary principalship
in public schools. This study attempted to determine if there existed a correlation between
principals who practiced both instructional leadership and transformational leadership resulting
in instruction that fostered higher student academic achievement. Further, what correlation
existed between principals who practiced one of the two constructs or neither with student
academic achievement for comparison to student academic achievement with principals who
perform both constructs.
Participating principals completed both the Principal Instructional Management Rating
Scale (PIMRS), Hallinger (1982), and Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ-5X) short-
Self Report surveys developed by Bass and Avolio (1995) while their respective teacher
participants completed the PIMRS teachers’ survey, Hallinger (1982) and MLQ-5X rater survey.
“The first published version of the MLQ … contained 67 items measuring the [full-range-
leadership] FRL Model (with 37 of these items assessing transformational leadership)” (Bass &
Riggio, 2006, p.21). This study used the Bass and Avolio 1995 revised version of the MLQ (5X).
“The current, revised form of the MLQ (5X) … is substantially refined and contains 36
standardized items, 4 items assessing each of the nine leadership dimensions associated with the
FRL model” (p. 21).
Between 1983 and 2008, 119 doctoral studies have used the Principal Instructional
Management Rating Scale (PMIRS) to collect data relating to instructional leadership (Hallinger,
2008). In terms of reliability, Hallinger (2008) states “while relatively few researchers using the
instrument sought to replicate the initial findings, several did. The replication studies of
reliability and validity included Howe (1995), Jones (1987), Nogay (1995), Sawyer (1997),
Taraseina (1993), [and] Wotany (1999)” (p. 24).
The most important assumption being made was that there would be significant statistical
difference in Wisconsin Knowledge and Concept Examination (WKCE) results for students who
have principals who practice both instructional leadership and transformational leadership versus
students who have principals who do not practice these leadership constructs.
Another assumption was that principals actually practiced the five, or at least three of the
five, dimensions of instructional leadership rather than designating various dimensions of
instructional leadership to other staff members. Furthermore, that teachers of principals’ who
designate dimensions of instructional leadership to other staff members would still identify their
principal as exercising instructional leadership through others when completing the PIMRS
There was an assumption that principals would not be attributed leadership constructs
that were occurring in a school, if the occurrence could not be attributed to the principal, but
rather another staff member or members.
An assumption was made that there would be enough practicing elementary principals
who have been operating in their current building for at least three years and further that at least
60 would be willing to participate in this study. It was anticipated that principals, as
professionals, would have a desire to be involved in a study that could potentially assist
academia to better prepare future principals for the jobs they will do.
An assumption was made that teachers would be willing and perhaps eager to participate
in this study, by rating their principal, for the purpose of assisting their principal in terms of
Some of these assumptions are drawn from the researcher’s belief that as professionals,
principals and teachers would be interested in participating in research that may help improve
student instruction and they would take the time to complete the surveys. This belief stems from
what the researcher feels is a duty or a responsibility that is embedded with being a professional.
Delimitations and Limitations
As with all correlational research, there is limited possibility of causal inferences.
Although the instructional leadership model as defined by Krug (1992) and transformational
leadership construct by Bass and Avolio (1995) may have significant empirical evidence to
support theoretical rational, this study was devised to identify cause-and-effect relationships.
Gall, Gall, and Borg (2005) state
It is difficult to make inferences about cause and effect from results of a
correlational study. When variables A and B are correlated, researchers cannot
definitively conclude that A caused B, that B caused A, or that both A and B are
caused by some third variable, C. (p. 220)
In this study there may have been significant factors such as the socioeconomic background of
students, teacher expertise, and other anomalies that could have skewed survey results.
Another limitation of correlational research can be chance findings. It was possible for
variables to correlate by chance alone rendering future replication of the study unlikely to
generate similar findings (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2005).
The fact that student achievement was measured for correlation purposes using
Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE) results should not present an issue for
reproducing this study in the future, however the WKCE will be replaced in the next few years
with another form of testing and this could present a limitation.
One limitation for this study was that results may not be generalized across middle and
senior high school settings.
A delimitation existed due to the fact that transactional leadership behaviors were not
initially considered within the context of the hypotheses. Had all aspects of full range leadership
been incorporated in the hypotheses, there would have been a wider depth of leadership
understanding in the elementary educational arena for future research to reaffirm or disprove.
A limitation may exist due to the lack of large metropolitan schools within the study.
Larger school districts have resources that are not available in smaller districts.
This study focused on the premise that one of the most accepted definitions of
instructional leadership involving five broad dimensions: defining mission, managing curriculum
and instruction, supervising and supporting teaching, monitoring student progress, and
promoting instructional climate, as determined by significant research over several decades, is
not leadership, but rather a list of managerial functions necessary to master and implement
through a form of leadership. These include:
• Austin (1978), Process Evaluation: A Comprehensive Study of Outliers
• Brookover & Lezotte (1979), Changes in School Characteristics Coincident with Changes in
• D’Amico (1982), The Effective Schools Movement: Studies, Issues, and Approaches
• Edmonds (1979), Effective Schools for the Urban Poor
• Frederiksen (1980), Models for Determining School Effectiveness
• Hallinger (1982), The Development of Behaviorally Anchored Rating for Appraising the
Instructional Management Behavior of Principals
• Hallinger & Murphy (1985), Assessing the Instructional Management Behavior of Principals
• Krug (1990a), Leadership and Learning: A Measurement-Based Approach for Analyzing
School Effectiveness and Developing Effective School Leaders
• Krug (1990b), Current Issues and Research Findings in the Study of School Leadership
• Krug (1992a), Instructional Leadership: A Constructivist Perspective
• Krug (1992b), Instructional Leadership, School Instructional Climate, and Student Learning
• Leithwood & Montgomery (1982), The Role of the Elementary School Principal in Program
• Lunenburg (1990), The 16PF as a Predictor of Principal Performance: An Integration of
Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods
• New York State Department of Education (1974), School Factors Influencing Reading
Achievement: A Case Study of Two Inner City Schools
• New York State Department of Education (1976), Three Strategies for Studying the Effects
of School Process
• Rutter, Maughan, Mortimore, Ouston & Smith (1979), Fifteen Thousand Hours: Secondary
Schools and Their Effects on Children
• Weber (1971), Inner-City Children can be Taught to Read: Four Successful Schools) over
Principals, or principal’s designees, need to attend to these five dimensions of school
management to provide the K-12 arena with a sound basis for high academic achievement;
however the process with which these dimensions are administered may or may not be defined as
leadership. The process could be managerial in nature.
Broadly defined, management is a “secondary social practice through which
administrative regulation and control is established and maintained over those activities and
relationships in which non-managerial practitioners are engaged by virtue of their membership of
communities of primary productive practice” (Reed, 1984, p.281). Traditional functions of
management involve planning in terms of meeting goals and being ready for crises, staffing in
terms of recruiting and training, organizing in terms of time management and team building,
controlling in terms of quality of methods, productivity, and people, and leading through
communication and motivation. Drucker (1986) identifies five basic operations of the
managerial role: set objectives, organize, motivate and communicate, measure, and develop
people. These five basic operations are similar to the five dimensions of Krug’s definition of
instructional leadership: setting objectives is similar to defining mission, organize could match
up with managing curriculum and instruction, developing people is similar to supervising and
supporting teaching, measurement is similar to monitoring student progress, and motivating and
communication could relate with promoting instructional climate.
Drucker (1986) suggests that leadership “cannot be created or promoted. It cannot be
taught or learned” (p. 158). He repeatedly remarks that management is no substitute for
leadership, but “management cannot create leaders. It can only create the conditions under
which potential leadership qualities become effective” (p. 159). However, the primary functions
of management involves organizing and controlling something where “leadership is an influence
relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual
purposes” (Rost, 1993, p. 102).
Bennis and Nanus (1985) espoused that leadership is not about control, direction, and
manipulation nor is it restricted to charismatic people, but that leadership is usually found in
ordinary people and is open to all; essentially stating that all people have potential for leadership.
Further, the reason leadership was lacking in society may be because leadership had been largely
overlooked as a topic for serious academic research and that people did not understand it. These
researchers argue that leadership can be created, promoted, and learned.
In the PK-12 arena, is the principal a manager or leader? Is the principal both? What is
the nature of the principal’s primary duties and responsibilities and if those duties and
responsibilities are managerial in nature, what effect in terms of student achievement would
transformational leadership play in carrying out these duties and responsibilities?
Rost (1993) provides a rather long list of definitions or understandings of leadership that
could lead one to believe that the study of leadership has been somewhat elusive. Leadership in
the field of education is no exception; significant research has been conducted throughout the
evolution of the effective schools movement since the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Early on,
the main research thrust centered on instructional leadership as a construct through the late
1990’s and continuing to a significantly lesser degree on through 2010. The introduction of
transformational leadership as a construct, mainly by Leithwood, in the field of education started
in the 1990’s (Jantzi & Leithwood, 1996; Leithwood, 1992; Leithwood, 1994; Leithwood &
Jantzi, 1998; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999; Leithwood, Jantzi, & Fernandez, 1993; Leithwood,
Jantzi, & Steinbach, 1999; Leithwood & Steinbach, 1993; Lezotte, 1992; Liontos, 1992; Philbin,
1997), but has mainly taken off after 2000 (Barnett, McCormick, & Conners, 2001; Dorward,
2009; Estapa, 2009; Fisher, 2003; Gardin, 2003; Gulbin, 2008; Hallinger, 2003; Leithwood,
Aitken, & Jantzi, 2001; Leithwood, & Jantzi, 2000a; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2006; Lyles, 2009;
Marks & Printy, 2003; Mills, 2008; Niedermeyer, 2003; Ross &Gray, 2006; Verona & Young,
2001; Witziers, Bosker, & Kruger, 2003). Research began to focus more on how principals do
what they do rather than what they do as a shift in the study and research of leadership in general
towards transformational leadership took place. Two major studies were conducted that
involved both constructs together, Hallinger (2003) Leading Educational Change: Reflections on
the Practice of Instructional and Transformational Leadership and Marks and Printy’s (2003)
Principal Leadership and School Performance: An Integration of Transformational and
Instructional Leadership, but other than those two, there appears to be a clean and decisive break
in the research where instructional leadership research nearly stopped and transformational
leadership research took off. With all that had been learned and developed within the
instructional leadership construct in the three decades leading up to the year 2000, perhaps there
is still a place for it in conjunction with transformational leadership or some other leadership
behavior that is conducive to higher student academic achievement.
Within the realm of elementary principal leadership, this study uses a correlational
approach to examine the relationships between transformational leadership conceived by Burns
(1978) and later extended by Bass (1985) and operationalized by Bass and Avolio (1988),
instructional leadership as defined by Krug (1992), and academic achievement measured by
Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE).
This study may add to existing research suggesting change is necessary in the way
principals are trained for the PK-12 educational arena. This effort should inspire greater
attention for research involving instructional leadership as a model in conjunction with the
behaviors of transformational leadership.
With the ensuing need for all students to attain proficiency required by NCLB, principals,
as central leaders within their schools, need to be better equipped to lead their respective staffs to
meet the demands of raising the overall academic achievement of students. This research should
provide answers as to how this challenge needs to be addressed.
This study provides a new perspective on how the two constructs, instructional leadership
and transformational leadership, work in tandem. A review of previous research in the areas of
instructional leadership and transformational leadership was conducted to ascertain previous
knowledge and build upon what was known. Appendix A provides a definition of terms.
Elementary principals throughout the state of Wisconsin, excluding the large
metropolitan area in and surrounding Milwaukee, Wisconsin, were invited to participate in this
study. Of the well over 1000 principals invited to participate, 31 completed two surveys, the
Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (PIMRS), Hallinger (1982), and the MLQ-5X,
Bass & Avolio (1995). A minimum of three teachers associated with each principal also
completed the rater form of the two surveys.
Analysis was then conducted on the collected data, Pearson’s correlation, Kendall’s tau-
b, and Spearman’s rho tests were used to determine if there was a correlation between leadership
behaviors and higher student academic performance as measured by the Wisconsin Knowledge
and Concept Examination (WKCE).
Principals need the necessary tools to be effective educational leaders to facilitate high
student achievement. On-going research is necessary to determine what the tools are and how
principals need to use them. This research project adds to that necessary knowledge.
This literature review of literature provides an examination of the roots of the effective
schools movement and how it leads to the formation of instructional leadership as a K-12
education leadership construct. Instructional leadership is a composition of what it is believed
that principals in the K-12 educational arena need to focus on to ensure high academic
achievement. The review then examines research findings pertaining to full-range leadership.
Specifically, the review focuses on transformational leadership and to a lesser extent
transactional leadership, spotlighting transformational leadership as it is studied in educational
The purpose of this study was to develop a better understanding of how successful
principals lead and more importantly how they assist their students achieve at higher levels
through their role as principal. To determine this, it is important to reveal the nature of the
principal’s primary duties and responsibilities and what leadership behaviors provide the
necessary means to provide the environment that leads to high student achievement. This
research study was conducted to determine if there was a benefit derived for students in terms of
higher academic achievement if principals attended to the various dimensions of instructional
leadership and practiced transformational leadership behaviors.
The literature review examines how instructional leadership developed through the
effective schools movement in terms of what it is, how research and educational literature has
shaped its’ understandings and meaning among educators, and what has been prescribed as best
practice to be successful in facilitating high student achievement. The literature review also
examines the beginnings of transformational leadership, the history of how transformational
leadership fits within the full-range leadership construct, and the research that has been done
involving transformational leadership studied in educational context.
Through examination of the past three decades of principal leadership research, there is a
distinction between the effective school movement research centered on instructional leadership
and the introduction of principal leadership research centered on transformational leadership.
With the exception of an article by Hallinger (2003) and Marks and Printy’s (2003) study, there
is a gap in the research where a jump was made from instructional leadership to transformational
leadership research. Although there have been a number of dissertations published in this area,
major works involving both instructional leadership and transformational leadership constructs
appears to be lacking.
Effective Schools Movement
To develop an understanding of instructional leadership it is necessary to examine its
origin through the evolution of the effective schools movement. “Lezotte (1986) has identified
four ‘critical’ periods that mark the epochs of the Movement’s evolution: 1966-76, 1976-80,
1980-83, and 1983-present ” (Mace-Matluck, 1987, p. 5). Beyond these time frames
research began to focus more on how principals do what they do rather than what they do. It is
during the timeframe between 1986 and the present that a jump took place from studying
instructional leadership to transformational leadership.
Effective Schools Movement 1966-1976.
The first critical period identified by Lezotte spans ten years. Notable historical
landmarks that occurred during and just prior to this period include the Civil Rights Act of 1964
and the Equal Educational Opportunity Survey (Coleman; 1966). The Civil Rights Act “sought
to ensure equal rights of all citizens, including equality of educational opportunity in public
schools. In conjunction with the Civil Rights Act, Congress provided funding under which
Coleman and his colleagues conducted [the] . . . Equal Educational Opportunity Survey” (Mace-
Matluck, 1987, p. 6). The Coleman report concluded that family background was the major
determinant of student achievement. Factors such as poverty or a parent’s lack of education
prevented children from learning regardless of the method of instruction or school (Edmonds &
Frederiksen, 1979; Jencks, 1972; Lezotte (n.d.); Lezotte, 1992; Mace-Matluck, 1987). Lezotte
(no date) states: “the report stimulated a vigorous reaction, instigating many of the studies that
would come to define the research base for the Effective Schools Movement” (np).
Accordingly, Klitgaard and Hall set out, along with other colleagues, to explore
the question, “Do effective schools exist?” Their 1974 report is important for
historical as well as substantive reasons: it was the first rigorous, large-scale effort
to identify effective schools. (Mace-Matluck, 1987, p. 8)
What they found was strikingly different than the Coleman report. Klitgaard and Hall (1974)
used regression analysis of achievement data, but focused on the top 100 and bottom 100 outlier
schools present in a study by Fetters, Connors, and Smith who had reanalyzed the Coleman data
and “constructed a histogram of residuals from their regression of achievement scores against
various background measures of 2,392 schools” (p. 94). Klitgaard and Hall were able to identify
schools that “were statistically ‘unusual,’ but [stated] whether they were unusually effective
depends on one’s subjective scale of magnitude” (p. 104-105). High achieving schools
“comprised 2 to 9 percent of the sample and averaged about 0.4 to 0.6 of an interstudent
standard deviation above the mean per test” (p.104). Others, who followed in this line of
research, were also able to identify schools that made a difference in achievement scores for all
children regardless of the student’s socio-economic background (D’Amico, 1982; Edmonds,
1979; Edmonds & Frederiksen, 1979; Frederiksen, 1980; Hallinger, 2003; Hallinger & Heck,
1998; Lezotte, 1992; Mace-Matluck, 1987; Weber, 1971). This spurred a number of researchers
to determine the factors relevant to the disparity between effective and non-effective schools.
A study conducted by Weber (1971) sought to identify operating processes of successful
inner-city schools serving urban poor children. Weber’s study examined four successful inner-
city schools, among 95 nominated, via case study. He found several factors that were common
to the four:
Strong leadership [in three cases it was the principal, in the other it was the area
superintendent]; High expectations [school staff held high expectations with
regard to school achievement of inner-city children]; Good atmosphere [school
climate was characterized by order, a sense of purpose, relative quiet, and
pleasure in learning]; careful evaluation of pupil progress; and Strong emphasis
on reading” [; Weber’s outcome measure focused on reading] (p. 30).
Ronald Edmonds states subsequent research showed that factors including “leadership,
expectations, atmosphere, reading emphasis, and assessment” (1979, p. 16) substantiate that
Weber was correct. Furthermore, “in 1974, the State of New York’s Office of Education
Performance Review published a study that [also] confirmed certain of Weber’s major findings”
(p. 16). Mace-Matluck (1987) cited six outlier studies, three from New York, one from
Maryland, one from Michigan, and one from Delaware conducted in this time frame stating “the
results of these outlier studies are amazingly consistent” (p. 10).
Review of studies, two in New York State and one in Austin Texas: School factors
influencing reading achievement: A case study of two inner city schools (New York State
Department of Education, 1974), Three strategies for studying the effects of school process (New
York State Department of Education, 1976), and Process Evaluation: A Comprehensive Study of
Outliers (Austin, 1978) shows consistent findings for high-achieving schools in the following
areas: principals exercised instructional leadership, set high expectations for student and teacher
performance, school staff had greater experience, higher teacher ratings, teachers were open to
trying new things, schools tended to have open space facilities, and a learning environment with
fewer discipline problems.
During this initial period of the effective schools movement, it became clear that effective
schools did exist and more importantly that socio-economic status, although prevalent in terms of
schools with low achievement, was not the deciding factor. The foundation had been laid for
researchers to answer a far more daunting question. What are the factors that must be addressed
to change schools to be become more effective?
Effective Schools Movement 1976-1980.
During the second period 1976-1980 of the school effectiveness movement, several
characteristics and correlates of effective schools were identified. Edmonds (1982) formally
identified five characteristics of effective schools in a paper entitled Programs of School
Improvement: An overview. These initial characteristics were as follows:
(1) the leadership of the principal notable for substantial attention to the quality
of instruction, (2) a pervasive and broadly understood instructional focus, (3) an
orderly, safe climate conducive to teaching and learning, (4) teacher behaviors
that convey the expectation that all students are expected to obtain at least
minimum mastery and (5) the use of measures of pupil achievement as the basis
for program evaluation. (p. 6)
According to Mace-Matluck (1987) the list of correlates changed somewhat during the late 70’s
and early 80’s. Mace-Matluck made this assertion upon her interpretation of the results of the
following case studies: “Brookover and colleagues at Michigan State (1979), Brookover and
Lezotte (1979), Rutter and colleagues from England (1979), the California State Department of
Education (1980), Glenn (1981), Levine & Stark (1981), and Venezky & Winfield (1981)” (p.
8). Review of these studies and others revealed there was a change that occurred. However, it
had to do more with Mace-Matluck’s, as well as others, interpretation and the wording of the
resulting correlates. Through review of a number of secondary source articles that repeated the
new wording of correlates, it appears that this may have opened the door to misunderstandings of
the correlates. Leadership of the principal derived from the original major works referred to
leadership in the following ways: strong administrative policies, behaviors, and practices (or
instructional leadership); strong leadership; a crucial instructional role; and a demanding leader.
Many secondary source publications placed the label “instructional leadership” on these findings
and referred to it as strong leadership. In several articles, authors also made reference for the
need for principals or instructional leaders to be more involved in the instructional process which
evolved into the need for instructional leaders to managing curriculum and instruction. The term
instructional leadership took on meaning, but lacked a definition.
Similarly, ‘a pervasive and broadly understood instructional focus’ (Edmonds, 1982)
throughout the secondary literature was referred to as ‘a clear set of goals and an emphasis for
the school’ and later evolved into the school mission, but the primary research actually identified
this as the establishment of student expectations.
The correlate: ‘an orderly, safe climate conducive to teaching and learning,’ (Edmonds,
1982) was seldom mentioned as a separate correlate, but rather as an extension of what ‘strong
leadership’ provided in the primary research. However, the secondary literature took hold of this
as a stand alone correlate that appeared frequently in the literature.
The correlate ‘teacher behaviors that convey the expectation that all students are expected
to obtain at least minimum mastery’ (Edmonds, 1982) was actually characterized in the primary
research in terms of stress on non-school factors often leads to a justification for failure, high
expectations on the part of teachers, and belief that all children can learn. Again, the secondary
literature developed a misrepresentation, high expectations by staff for student achievement.
Although there is general congruence in meaning it is important to note that obtaining at least
minimum mastery was lost in the translation.
The correlate ‘use of measures of pupil achievement as the basis for program evaluation’
(Edmonds, 1982) evolved into frequent monitoring of student progress throughout most
secondary literature. This was perhaps the most significant change and diverged greatly from the
intent of the primary research findings. The primary research spoke of follow-up monitoring of
the children’s abilities for the purpose of remediation and re-teaching. The essence of
monitoring student achievement was two fold in the primary research findings. It was to ensure
students who failed to master minimum skill had further instruction and to ensure that teachers
learned to make necessary adjustments in terms of future direct instruction.
A new correlate emerged during this time frame. The primary research was fairly
consistent about the necessity of an effective school wide staff training program. However, this
correlate is also an interpretation of a number of different findings. Primary research referenced
it as teachers need to be well trained, staff development must be tied to the instructional program,
and continuous in-service training is necessary. Some primary research made reference to
experienced staff and tenured staff as being important for high achieving schools. These
findings evolved from primary research centered on determining what the factors were in schools
of poor black children, and a few that simply studied socioeconomic disadvantaged urban
schools, that enabled them to be generally successful. This resulted in literature review works
and articles that solidified the correlate as a necessity for effective schools.
The practice of the interpretation of these correlates by well know researchers such as
Bossert, Dwyer, Rowan, & Lee (1982), Bridges (1982), Edmonds (1982), Hallinger & Heck
(1998), Leithwood & Montgomery (1982), Lezotte (1992), etc., found throughout available
literature, i.e. Review of Educational Research, Journal of Curriculum Studies, Educational
Evaluation and Policy Analysis, North Central Association Quarterly, National Elementary
School Principal, Principal Leadership, American Educational Journal, Educational
Researcher, etc., generated a list of effective schools characteristics that appear to be sound on
the surface. However, it appears the term “instructional leadership,” albeit commonly used, was
still open to wide interpretation.
A study published by Brookover and Lezotte (1979) involved eight Michigan schools, six
of which were identified as improving and two as declining in achievement, expanded the list of
correlates finding 10 factors attributed to higher student achievement.
The ten factors attributed to providing higher student achievement were:
• Improving schools accept and emphasize the importance of basic reading and math
• Staff of improving schools believe all students can master basic skills objectives and they
believe the principal shares this belief
• Staff of improving schools expect higher and increasing levels of expectations from their
• Staff of improving schools assume responsibility for teaching basic reading and math skills
and are committed to do so
• Staff of improving schools spend more time on achieving basic reading and math skills
• Principals at improving schools are likely to be assertive instructional leaders and
disciplinarians and they assume responsibility for the evaluation of the achievement of basic
• Staff at improving schools accept the concept of accountability based on standardized testing
• Teachers at improving schools are generally not satisfied or complacent, they tend to
experience tension and dissatisfaction with low student achievement
• Parent involvement differences between improving and declining schools remains unclear,
however there appears to be less parent contact in improving schools
• Improving schools do not emphasize paraprofessional involvement or heavy teacher
involvement in the selection of students for compensatory education programs.
(Brookover & Lezotte, 1979, pp. 66-69)
Rutter, Maughan, Mortimore, Ouston, and Smith (1979), found seven significant
constants existed in successful schools. Successful schools held higher expectations for children
to achieve; spent more time on the lesson topic rather than setting up equipment, distributing
materials and dealing with discipline; provided a variety of rewards, praise and appreciation,
specifically important was the use of frequent immediate positive reinforcement; put effort into
providing a pleasant and comfortable learning environment; enabled opportunities for a greater
percentage of the student body to take on responsibilities and have input on the general
operations of the school; teacher continuity held both advantages and disadvantages depending
on how well the individual student got along with the teacher; and functioned as a coherent
whole with agreed ways of doing things, provided a consistent process for checking student
work, and planned lessons and curriculum jointly.
From these correlates and identified characteristics, a definition of effective schools
began to take shape. Mace-Matluck (1986) (as cited in Mace-Matluck, 1987) developed a
composite definition based on a survey of the current literature. However, she acknowledged
details varied among researchers and studies and indicated some aspects of the composite
definition may have been attributed to secondary source works.
An effective school is one in which the conditions are such that student
achievement data show that all students evidence an acceptable minimum mastery
of those essential basic skills that are prerequisite to success at the next level of
schooling. (p. 11)
Unfortunately, with the inconsistent findings in studies, it was still difficult to identify a
definitive recipe that principals could focus attention towards.
The focus of the majority of studies during this time frame concerned primary grades
involving reading and math skills. It is for this reason that it is important to note that the
conceptual form of a list of characteristics, for successful schools, for any given study needs to
be viewed in line with the focus of the study that generated the list. Studies prior to this time
frame and some during this time frame were not directly focused on primary grade reading and
math skills. Some studies searched for generalizations among identified successful schools and
therefore generated markedly different characteristics. Also notable is that there is still no
agreed upon definition or list of characteristics which strong administrative leadership or
instructional leadership encompasses.
Although there were many unanswered questions and a multitude of prescribed practices,
the second period of the effective schools movement clearly asserted that effective schools did
exist and further that socioeconomic and family background were not sufficient reasons for
students’ failure to be successful. Edmonds (1979) who was involved heavily with research,
along with Frederiksen, of poor black children and urban schools in general writes “pupil family
background neither causes nor precludes elementary school instructional effectiveness” (p. 21).
Unanswered questions centered on four issues; what is educational effectiveness, what is
instructional leadership, how to deal with a mismatch between general conclusions and specific
studies’ results, and the extensive lists of definitions and characteristics are too great in number,
thus impractical for developing a single recipe for implementation. However, even though these
issues existed, the research during this period created a movement in which “effective schools
and their characteristics became models for school improvement . . . in some cases, as a basis for
far-reaching educational policy decisions and large-scale school improvement initiatives”
(D’Amico, 1982, p. 4).
Effective Schools Movement 1980-1983.
The third effective schools movement period identified by Lezotte extended three years,
from 1980 to 1983. Hallinger and Heck (1998) identify this era as the beginning of a 15 year
period from which empirical literature specifically related to principal contributions to school
effectiveness moved to the forefront of research endeavors. Previous research clearly identified
that “in the search for factors that influence school effectiveness, the role of the elementary
school principal has emerged as critical” (Leithwood & Montgomery, 1982, p. 309). Bossert et
al. (1982) agree, “recent work on ‘successful schools’ underscores the importance of
instructional leadership, especially the role of the principal in coordinating and controlling the
instructional program” (p. 34), but also that “little is known about how instructional management
at the school level affects children’s schooling experiences” (p. 34). The daunting effort to
identify these factors initiated this short three year time period.
Entering this time period, there appeared to be four common characteristics of successful
schools within research: a school climate conducive to learning and generally free of disciplinary
issues, a school-wide emphasis on mastery of basic skills in reading and math; a common belief
that all children can learn; and instructional objectives which are based on minimal expectations
of basic skills mastery and student achievement monitoring assessments in place to insure
students received further instruction (Austin, 1978; Brookover & Lezotte, 1979; Edmonds, 1979;
Edmonds & Frederiksen, 1979; Frederiksen, 1980; Rutter, Maughan, Mortimore, Ouston, &
Smith, 1979). The missing element in this list is leadership.
Edmonds (1982) states that a fifth characteristic has been both identified and widely
disseminated, “the leadership of the principal [is] notable for substantial attention to the quality
of instruction” (p. 6). Furthermore, Bossert, Dwyer, Rowan, and Lee (1982) suggest that studies
to this point also indicate that the conditions created above are in large part due to school
principals who are perceived to be “strong pragmatic leaders” (p. 35). However, Bossert, et al.
(1982) also points out that research has not focused causal ordering of variables and therefore
“current work on successful schools does not link instructional management practices with
instructional outcomes that exist in successful schools” (p. 36). In large part this is due to
findings that no style of leadership was found that worked consistently in successful schools.
Principal behaviors had different affects in different school settings. Such findings reaffirmed
Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership and Fiedler’s contingency theories found in what
was current literature at that time.
Bridges (1982), in his research of 322 research reports, identified a number of issues that
presented conceptual and methodological obstacles necessary to overcome what he identified as
major gaps in the research leading up to this time frame. The issues listed included stability of
impact, neutrality of impact, generalized impact, uniformity of impact, and management impact.
Researchers ignored the transitory nature of administrator behaviors over time, did not take into
account the possibility that administrator effects were not independent of one another, assumed
that findings in one school setting were valid across all educational settings, assumed that
administrator behavior would hold identical effects with other administrators, and that no casual
comparison has been identified between administrator behavior or practice and a specific desired
outcome. The issues Bridges’ research divulged led him to conclude that defining a recipe for
successful school leadership would “not be completed easily or quickly” (p. 29). Murphy,
Hallinger, and Mitman (1983) echoed these results stating that the methodological areas
identified included generalizability, lack of exploratory models, lack of behavioral indicators,
and premature application of research findings. From an organizational perspective, they found
misconceptions about management, misconceptions about leadership, and misallocation of time
devoted primarily to internal organizational considerations. These authors also concluded that
there was a lack of original research, lack of clarity in terminology with respect to leadership,
and a lack of attention to indirect leadership.
Effective Schools Movement 1983-1986.
The last time frame identified by Lezotte, 1983-1986, is marked with a plethora of
practitioner resources to understand and implement successful schools; Educational
Administration Quarterly, Educational Leadership, Educational Management, Administration, &
Leadership: EMAL, Phi Delta Kappan, Review of Educational Research, etc. are replete with
articles extolling the research findings of the effective schools movement. How to books were
available such as Reaching for Excellence: An Effective Schools Sourcebook (Kyle,1985),
Implementing School Improvement Plans: A Directory of Research-Based Tools (Fleming &
Buckles, 1987), Research-Based Strategies for Bringing About Successful School Improvement
(Mace-Matluck, 1986a), and Research-Based Tools for Bringing About Successful School
Improvement (Mace-Matluck, 1986b). In essence, the effective schools movement information
became readily available for practitioners. The recipe for producing effective schools was
available. With subtle variations between sources, administrators needed to promote the
instructional climate, place emphasis on mastery level of basics, develop a school wide belief
that all children can and will learn, monitor student progress, and provide direct assistance for
development of teacher skills as the instructional leader.
Beyond Lezotte’s four ‘critical’ periods that marked the epochs of the effective schools
movement, the study of instructional leadership began to envision instructional leadership from
different points of view. Researchers were fairly clear on what needed to happen in schools, but
how it occurred was still somewhat illusive. Anderson (1990) addressed this issue from a
functionalistic approach. “Most current empirical research in education administration – whether
of a positivist or naturalistic paradigm – is incapable of studying such phenomena because it
lacks a critical approach to research” (p. 43). Unfortunately, the study of instructional leadership
from the critical functionalistic approach encounters several immediate tribulations. As Krug
(1992a) addressed this issue, “the contexts in which instructional leaders operate vary
tremendously as do the opportunities they encounter for expressing leadership in these difficult
contexts” (p. 6). The manner with which an administrator addresses the various aspects of
instructional leadership are as varied as the number of administrators and although many schools
share some environmental aspects, there are an infinite number of factors that shape them such as
the socioeconomic background of the staff and student body and the resources available to
individual schools in terms of fiscal matters, staff knowledge, and staff training.
In large part, the effective schools movement research reviews seemed to have come to
rest on the shoulders of the school principal regarding the role the school principal plays as
instructional leader. However, Hallinger and Murphy (1985) note that the
lack of research on instructional management has effected school administrators
in several ways. Instructional management (used synonymously in this paper with
instructional leadership) has meant anything and everything; an administrator
trying to be an instructional leader has had little direction in determining just what
it means to do so. (p. 217)
Instructional Leadership Research
Hallinger and Murphy were enlisted by a school district in 1985 to develop a study to
describe and measure instructional management behavior related to a principal’s behavior in
terms of defining the school mission, managing the instructional program, and promoting the
school learning climate. To perform this study the Principal Instructional Management Rating
Scale (PIMRS), developed by Hallinger (1982), was used. This instrument, consisting of 71
items, segmented defining school mission into framing school goals and communicating school
goals. It segmented managing the instructional program into three parts: supervising and
evaluating instruction, coordinating curriculum, and monitoring student progress. And
segmented promoting school climate into six parts: protecting instructional time, promoting
professional development, maintaining high visibility, providing incentives for teachers,
enforcing academic standards, and providing incentives for students. The items were designed to
be answered by principals, teachers and district administrators. Each item is answered on a five
point Likert scale, one representing almost never to 5 representing almost always. The original
version of the PIMRS also had a “?” option as a response. Unfortunately, Hallinger and Murphy
reported that several principals’ self ratings were inconsistent with those of their respective
teachers and supervisors.
The notable outcome from Hallinger and Murphy’s research was three-fold. These
researchers acknowledged that instructional management and instructional leadership occurred
synonymously, a pattern emerged that showed that a principal who ranked highly in one area
ranked highly on other job subscales, and the development of the PIMRS advanced the necessary
movement from description to measurement of instructional leadership.
Noting that instructional management and instructional leadership are used
synonymously suggests that these researchers do not differentiate management and leadership.
This begs the question, does the method and tool(s) used in the study help foster an
understanding of leadership within the K-12 arena to any extent at all?
The fact that principals who scored well in one area were found to score well in most or
all areas may tell us something about the individuals, but does not aid our understanding about
how individual aspects of instructional leadership work independently.
The PIMRS did advance the movement from description to measurement of instructional
leadership. However, Krug (1990a) identified several issues with the construction of the
PIMRS: Many of the items are long and complex. Evidence for its reliability or validity is
relatively limited and /or difficult to obtain as there were only ten principals/schools involved.
No norms have been developed to facilitate comparative applications. Little is known about the
sensitivity of the instrument to differences arising from demographic factors such as school type
(elementary, middle, secondary), school size, gender, or age. And, the PIMRS makes no attempt
to assess contextual factors that might moderate or influence the interpretation on individual
scores. Although Hallinger and Murphy (1985) presented findings across ten subscales that
identified the instrument as both reliable and valid they give credence to Krug’s criticism stating:
“the absence of outcome data limited our ability to test the external validity the instructional
leadership construct or to comment on the relative importance of the various principal functions,
policies, practices, or behavior” (p. 232).
Having acknowledged that school leaders have both a direct and indirect affect on student
achievement, Krug conducted several studies. Krug (1990a) attempted to answer questions
about how school leadership influenced learning and achievement. In this study Krug used the
1988 final version of the Instructional Leadership Inventory (ILI) self-report instrument for
administrators, developed by Maehr and Ames, and the Instructional Climate Inventory (ICI) that
mirrors the ILI instrument for cross-checking administrator’s responses, developed by Maehr,
Braskamp, and Ames. The result of this study produced a set of “psychometrically refined
instruments” (p. 21), found to be reliable and valid, the beginnings of researchers’ ability “to
understand the structure of school leadership behavior better” (p. 21), and “identified important
dimensions of school climate through which school leaders influence the motivation of both
teachers and students” (p. 21).
Krug (1990b) published work establishing two important findings: “(a) What leaders
believe about their work is paramount in explaining differences between leaders, and (b) what
we learn about instructional leadership is highly dependent upon whom we ask” (p. 2). In order
to develop an understanding of what were principals’ beliefs, an experience sampling
methodology (ESM) signaled 81 principals at random times between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
five times per day over a five consecutive day period. Principals would then “record what they
were doing, their interpretation of that activity, and their feelings at the time” (pp. 15-16). In
addition to this, the ILI was used to determine leadership effectiveness. The data revealed that
principals engaged in the same types of activity exercising their instructional leadership, but their
beliefs about what they were doing differed significantly. The conclusion drawn from this Krug
states: “more effective instructional leaders conceptualize and utilize these activities as
opportunities for exercising instructional leadership. In other words, instructional leadership can
be better conceptualized as an approach to school administration rather than as a specific set of
practices” (p. 20). This study employed the ICI-T instrument to alleviate self-report bias. Two
findings were derived from this aspect of the study. First the teacher ratings of instructional
leadership behavior correlated significantly well with principal self-reports using these
instruments and second that “teachers may not fully understand the motives that underlie a
principal’s actions, yet they may still provide valid information about whether the school’s
leadership is working or not” (p. 35). Unfortunately, MetriTech no longer supports the ILI or
ICI-T instruments for use.
A study performed by Lunenburg (1990) did not specifically address principals in terms
of instructional leadership, but used the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF) (Cattell,
Eber, & Tatsuoka, 1986) to examine principal performance from a broad set of personality
factors. Lunenburg’s data describes a “superior principal as more educated, assertive,
imaginative, self-sufficient, and warm-hearted” (p. 11). The importance of this study
demonstrated that high performing principals fare equally with high performing managers in
non-education sectors in terms of personality factors and although it may be possible to predict
performance of possible principal prospects, it does not provide insight to what these principals
do differently in terms of instructional leadership as the study failed to “predict the way in which
principal’s spend their time” (p. 11).
Krug (1992b) published a study which involved 72 principals, 1,523 teachers, and 9,415
students from Chicago area schools. It should be noted that this publication provided only zero-
order correlations. These initial zero-order correlations provided uniform positive evidence that
principal self-ratings of the five broad dimensions of instructional leadership hold a statistically
significant relationship with student achievement. However, the zero-order correlations did not
provide a statistically significant relationship between teacher ratings of the five dimensions of
instructional leadership and student achievement, but the correlations were generally positive. In
summary, Krug stated “it seems reasonable to conclude that the empirical evidence for link
between instructional leadership and student learning outcomes is strong, particularly in the early
school years” (p. 4).
Hallinger and Heck (1998) examined studies produced over a 15 year period to look at
principals’ contribution to school effectiveness from 1980 to 1995. In their study, they identified
three models through which they classified the studies:
… direct effects (i.e., where principal’s actions influence school outcomes);
mediated effects (i.e., where principal actions affect outcomes indirectly through
other variables); reciprocal effects (e.g., where the principal affects teachers and
teachers affect the principal, and through these processes outcomes are affected).
Prior to 1985, most studies follow the direct effects study model. As Hallinger and Heck found,
direct effects studies as conducted had “limited utility for investigating the effects of principal
leadership” (p. 166). Research determined a smorgasbord of what principals did with some
congruence in the area of instructional leadership in effective schools and clearly demonstrated
that all children can learn given certain conditions within their schools, but it did not identify a
‘recipe’ for success for principals to follow.
Studies thereafter, such as the work of Maehr , Braskamp, and Ames (1986), Hallinger
and Murphy (1985), and Krug (1990b, 1992a), recognized instructional leadership on the part of
principals from the perspective of the mediated effects model. These later studies viewed
instructional leadership as actions or behaviors performed by the principal to accomplish the
effects on school outcomes indirectly through staff members by providing direct assistance to
teachers on instructional practices, promoting school culture, and monitoring student progress.
This is particularly true in terms of student achievement. In relation to classroom teachers, the
principal does not have near as much direct contact with individual students. Although the
principal promotes the instructional climate, it is the classroom teacher and other staff members
who have the most significant direct student contact. Assuming principals closely monitor
student progress, generally interventions are performed by other staff members. Principals may
manage change in curriculum and instruction, but again it is the classroom teachers who deliver
instruction. Although principals may define school mission, the mission is mediated to students
daily more through the general staff than the principal. One area that may have a closer direct
effect on achievement is achieved through principals who directly supervise and support
There was little evidence of longitudinal research found to both clearly identify and
measure success involving what Hallinger and Heck refer to as the reciprocal-effects model.
This model involves an interactive relationship between the principal and the school’s staff and
school climate. Hallinger and Heck (1998) suggest this “framework implies that administrators
adapt to the organization in which they work, changing their thinking and behavior over time”
(p. 168). This does not suggest a form of laissez-faire leadership. It takes a form where
leadership may be shared and take multiple forms over time. Work involving studies of
principals exercising transformational leadership may be moving in this direction and may be the
answer to why no single recipe for instructional leadership has been revealed through research.
However, studies utilizing this model will most likely require a combination of both quantitative
and qualitative longitudinal data.
Conclusions drawn from 43 participants in a two day educational forum held in
Washington DC (Riley, McGuire, Lieb, & Dorfman, 1999), made up of prominent educational
leadership researchers and a host of others including superintendents, principals, teachers,
education consultants, and state policy makers agreed that there is a distinction between
management and instructional leadership. To arrive at this conclusion, they first addressed the
question: “What is the definition of an effective leader for today’s schools?” (p. 2). In order to
answer this question, this group first identified instructional leadership. Instructional leaders
devote significant time evaluating instruction and then assisting teachers with methods to
improve instruction. Leaders in effective schools have sound understandings of pedagogy and
developmentally appropriate learning and use this knowledge to assist teachers improve
instruction. Effective leaders set the vision (mainly it was agreed that district vision came down
from the superintendent) and assist in cooperatively developing school goals and provide
“teachers with informed feedback, guidance, support, and professional development that will
help them do their jobs better” (p. 5). However, forum attendees could not arrive at consensus
regarding to what degree effective leaders needed to perform instructional leadership relative to
management skills. It was clear that management encompassed significant time for principals on
a daily basis. They did not suggest that school management is a facet of instructional leadership,
but rather a host of duties that all principals must attend. However, the group determined that
school leaders as a whole need to shift their focus and energy “from the B’s (budgets, books,
buses, bonds, and buildings), to the C’s (communication, collaboration, and community
building)” (p. 5).
Leithwood and Jantzi (1999c) instituted a large scale quantitative study involving 129
principals, 2,465 teachers, and 44,920 students to measure relative effects of both principal and
teacher leadership effects on student engagement. Although the overall results were
disappointing for a variety of reasons, it was mainly because results contradicted a number of
qualitative case studies that were designed to examine effects of teacher leadership on student
outcomes. Principal leadership effects were positive, “although not strong, do reach statistical
significance” (pp. 696-697). Although this study did not specifically address instructional
leadership, it did further exemplify the importance of the role school principals play in terms of
indirect effects on student learning and added to the growing evidence that principals make a
significant contribution to school effectiveness.
After the turn of the twenty first century, principal leadership researchers’ attention
turned toward transformational leadership, but the idea of instructional leadership continued to
maintain a presence. Marks and Printy (2003) published a study entitled Principal Leadership
and School Performance: An Integration of Transformational and Instructional Leadership.
These researchers specifically examined shared instructional leadership. Shared instructional
leadership implies that the principal is not the sole agent responsible for school change. This
plays well into the idea of the integration of instructional and transformational leadership as a
model since the transformational model recognizes the idea that leaders and followers can and at
times should exchange roles. However, it did not add to the body of knowledge regarding
instructional leadership as a leadership construct.
Full Range Leadership: Transformational and Transactional Leadership
The origins of the full range leadership model trace back to Burns’ (1978) description of
transforming leadership. Burns formalized transforming leadership as a construct in 1978. Bass’
(1985) theory of transformational leadership expanded Burns’ model to include the
psychological mechanisms underpinning transformational and transactional leadership (Bass,
Avolio, Jung, & Berson, 2003). “Bass’s (1985) conceptualization of transactional and
transformational leadership included seven leadership factors, which he labeled charisma,
inspirational, intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration, contingent reward,
management-by-exception and laissez-faire leadership” (Avolio, Bass, & Jung, 1999, p. 441).
This seven factor model was later reduced to a six factor model because charisma and
inspirational were often not empirically distinguishable (Avolio, Bass, & Jung, 1999). Hater and
Bass (1988) soon after separated the transactional factor, management-by-exception, into
management-by-exception active and management-by-exception passive.
Bass and Avolio developed the concept of full range leadership to be an inclusive range
of leadership involving four behaviors of transformational leadership, three behaviors of
transactional leadership, and laissez-faire leadership. Transformational leadership in the full
range leadership model is composed of what are now referred as the four I’s; idealized influence,
inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration (Avolio,
Waldman, & Yammarino, 1991). Transactional leadership is composed of three leadership
behaviors; contingent reward, management-by-exception active, and management-by exception
passive. Laissez-faire leadership is the final behavior and on the opposite end of the full range
leadership model continuum from the four I’s.
Although many authors credit Burns as having first introduced the concept of
transformational leadership in 1978, Downton was first to distinguish transformational
leadership from transactional leadership (Avolio & Bass, 1995). Downton (1973) contrasted
transformational from transactional leadership in Rebel Leadership, differentiating revolutionary,
rebel, reform, and ordinary leaders (Nguni, Sleegers, & Denessen, 2006). Burns formalized
transforming leadership as a concept in 1978. “A transformational leader differs from a
transactional one by not merely recognizing associates’ needs, but by attempting to develop
those needs from lower to higher levels of maturity” (Avolio & Bass, 1995, p.16). Although
Bass and Avolio extended the concept of transformational leadership into full range leadership,
Burns and Bass are generally known for the origins of the transformational leadership construct.
It should be noted that “neither Burns nor Bass studied schools, but rather based their work on
political leaders, Army officers, or business executives” (Liontos, 1992, p.2).
As the name implies, the heart of transformational leadership involves the ability of the
leader to transform peoples’ behavior or actions that in essence makes them better for the
organization they serve. “Bass depicted transformational leadership as a higher order construct
comprising of three conceptually distinct factors: charisma, intellectual stimulation, and
individualized consideration” (Howell & Avolio, 1993, p. 891). By 1991, the three conceptual
factors became four; these conceptual areas were then labeled charismatic leadership/idealized
influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration
(Smith, Montagno, & Kuzmenko, 2004, p. 83). Leaders maintain high ethical and moral conduct
and focus on followers’ values, motives, and satisfying their needs (Burns, 2003). Ethical and
moral conduct requirements are what set transformational leadership apart. This is the answer to
the all too often debated question; was Adolf Hitler a leader? “Transforming values lie at the
heart of transforming leadership” (Burns, 2003, p.29), but the values need to be morally and
ethically grounded to be considered leadership.
Transformational leadership currently is defined by four dimensions: idealized influence,
inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration.
Bass and Riggio (2006) identify idealized influence as a combination of two aspects: “the
leader’s behaviors and the elements that are attributed to the leader by followers and other
associates” (p. 6). Transformational leaders model the behaviors they expect in their followers.
Behaviors emphasize others needs and maintain high ethical and moral conduct. As a result
followers recognize that transformational leaders are generally well respected, admired, and
trusted by others. An emphasis for the leader is to consider followers’ needs over their own
(Bass, Avolio, Jung, & Berson, 2003). “Followers identify with the leaders and want to emulate
them; leaders are endowed by their followers as having extraordinary capabilities, persistence,
and determination” (Bass & Riggio, 2006, p. 6).
Transformational leaders characterize inspirational motivation by motivating and
inspiring followers, displaying enthusiasm, demonstrating optimism, communicating
expectations, and creating a shared vision for the organization. Leaders provide meaning and
challenge to their followers’ work to inspire them to perform and create a sense of purpose
(Bass, Avolio, Jung, & Berson, 2003; Barbuto & Brown, 2000; Smith, Montagno, & Kuzmenko,
2004). In practice, transformational leaders focus followers’ efforts through inspirational
motivation to achieve more for the organization than they would for their own self-interest. Bass
and Riggio (2006) affirm this; “transformational leaders behave in ways that motivate and
inspire those around them by providing meaning and challenge to their followers’ work” (p. 6).
Intellectual stimulation is characterized by leaders who encourage innovation and
creativity, they are willing to abandon practices or systems demonstrated to be not useful,
question assumptions, they approach old situations in new ways, and are willing to take risks for
long term success (Bass, Avolio, Jung, & Berson, 2003; Smith, Montagno, & Kuzmenko, 2004).
These behaviors stimulate followers’ creativity and encourage followers to challenge their own
beliefs. Bass and Riggio (2006) relate intellectual stimulation in terms of leaders who “stimulate
their followers’ efforts to be innovative and creative by questioning assumptions, reframing
problems, and approaching old situations in new ways” (p. 6). Followers are involved in the
process of addressing problems and finding solutions (Bass, Avolio, Jung, & Berson, 2003).
Individualized consideration is characterized by leaders who attend to followers’ needs
for growth and achievement, create learning opportunities, and empower followers to make
decisions. This accomplished in part by the leader taking the role of coach or mentor (Bass,
Avolio, Jung, & Berson, 2003; Smith, Montagno, & Kuzmenko, 2004); all in an effort that
enhances the organization. Leaders create an environment that is supportive where followers are
heard and individual needs are met. This facet of transformational leadership is sometimes
associated with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs relating to self-actualization. Bass and Riggio
(2006) maintain that “followers and colleagues are developed to successively higher levels of
potential” (p. 7).
Burns (1978) states that transactional leaders “approach associates with an eye to
exchanging one thing for another [in the area of political transactional leaders it may be]: jobs for
votes, or subsidies for campaign contributions. Such transactions comprise the bulk of the
relationships among leaders and associates, especially in groups, legislatures and parties” (p. 4).
There are three dimensions that underlie transactional leadership: management-by-
exception passive, management-by-exception active, and contingent reward. “Transactional
forms of leadership are premised on exchange theory. Various kinds of rewards from the
organization are exchanged for the services of the teacher who is seen to be acting at least partly
out of self-interest” (Leithwood, Jantzi, & Fernandez, 1993, p.11).
Management-by-exception is an intervention in which corrective action is made by the
leader. Timing of the intervention distinguishes the difference between active and passive
management-by-exception. In cases of active management-by-exception the leader monitors
followers continuously in an effort to prevent mistakes from happening or becoming serious. In
some situations this is considered necessary for the purpose of safety. Standards are set and
clarified for followers in advance to avoid problems. Passive management-by-exception
involves interventions in the form of criticism and reprimand by the leader only after mistakes
have been made or standards are not met. Leaders exhibiting passive management-by-exception
wait until tasks are completed before clarifying standards and only then to point out errors
(Howell & Avolio, 1993). Management-by-exception passive is “the extent to which leaders
may not be aware of problems until informed by others and generally fail to intervene until
serious problems occur” (Nguni, Sleegers, & Denessen, 2006, p. 149).
Howell and Avolio (1993) describe contingent reward leadership an active positive
exchange which occurs between leaders and followers. The exchange involves rewards such as
recognition from the leader, bonuses, or merit increases for agreed-upon objectives. Contingent
reward is “the extent to which leaders set goals, make rewards on performance, obtain necessary
resources, and provide rewards when performance goals are met” (Nguni, Sleegers, & Denessen,
2006, p. 149). Contingent reward is transactional when the reward is material in nature,
contingent reward “can be transformational, however, when the reward is psychological” (Bass
& Riggio, 2006, p. 8).
Laissez-faire is essentially non-leadership or the lack of leadership. Nguni, Sleegers, and
Denessen (2006) define laissez-faire as “the extent to which leaders avoid responsibility, fail to
make decisions, are absent when needed, or fail to follow up on requests” (p. 149). Barbuto and
Brown (2000) describe laissez-faire as a hands-off form of leadership often referred to as the
absence of leadership. Laissez-faire “leaders avoid specifying agreements, clarifying
expectations, and providing goals and standards to be achieved by followers” (Bass, Avolio,
Jung, & Berson, 2003).
Transformational Leadership Studied in Educational Context
Although transformational leadership as a construct had been in place since 1978 and
studied in practice through the 1980’s it had not been researched in relation with education until
the 1990’s and since then research has taken place involving two different constructs of
Leithwood, Jantzi, and Fernandez (1993) developed a six factor model believed to be
more appropriate in design and nature for the K-12 arena. Within the realm of PK-12 education,
transformational leadership has been researched through in-depth case study (Liontos, 1993), in
conjunction with “expert thinking” in comparison with total quality leadership (Leithwood &
Steinbach, 1993), as a moderator of teacher commitment (Leithwood, Jantzi, & Fernandez,
1993), its’ effectiveness on student engagement and organizational conditions (Leithwood &