Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

School of Education

Abstract

This study was designed to explore the transformational leadership practices of science department chairs as perceived by both science department chairs and their principals as measured quantitatively by the third edition of the Leadership Practice Inventory (LPI) (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). In addition to transformational leadership, three other paradigms of leadership were essential to this study: transactional leadership, teacher leadership, and distributed leadership. Science department chairs are recognized as formal teacher leaders, primarily because their situational position makes them formal leaders; in addition science department chairs teach, to some degree, hence they are acknowledged as teacher leaders. The study further sought to determine whether or not there is a difference in the perceptions of the science department chairs' transformational leadership practices when demographics such as gender, age, educational experience, and professional experience are considered in the relationship.

The researcher was attempting to extract information on the leadership behaviors of individuals who serve in role of formal teacher leader positions in secondary public schools, whether it be gender, age, years of experience, highest degree attained, department size, or professional experiences. Through the extraction of data, the researcher was hoping to gain insight into what influences transformational leadership behaviors of science department chairs. Moreover, the researcher was hoping to see if certain transformational behaviors dominated the work of science department chair, and if so what influenced those behaviors to be a dominate leadership trait over other behaviors.

The data collected from this study did show that science department chairs' leadership style is transformational whether self-perceived by the department chairs or observed by the principals. However, the principal viewed the science department chairs' transformational leadership behaviors to a lesser degree than the department chairs ranked themselves. Regardless of whose perceptions were being analyzed - principals or science department chairs - the research also indicated that out of the five transformational leadership practices science department chairs scored lowest in behaviors that involve `Challenging the Process' and `Inspiring a Shared Vision' within the organization.

The research demonstrated that in the demographic category of gender there was a difference in the scores of women and men, with women rating themselves as more transformational in nature than men. In the demographic category of age and gender, the research revealed that science department chairs who were females between the ages of 50-59 viewed themselves as having the highest degree of transformational practices. For the male population, the age range of 40-49 perceived themselves as being more transformational in practice than the other two age groupings for the male population. Lastly, the research demonstrated that in the category of experience, science department chairs with seven to nine years experience professed themselves to be the most transformational leaders. When experience was examined with gender, females with seven to nine years of experience alleged that most often they exhibited themselves to be more transformational leaders than other subgroups in the study. A limitation in this study rests in the fact that all science department chairs self-evaluated their leadership practices, and another limitation is that not all of the principals who participated in the study paired with a science department chair who participated in the study.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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