The relationship of leader behavior in principals to participation in renewal programs



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Purpose. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the extent of principals' participation in professional selfrenewal activities and teachers' perceptions of their leader behavior. Also being studied was the relationship between the participating principals' perceptions of: (1) the degree of individualization of renewal activities, (2) the extent of participant involvement in the planning of the renewal activities, and (3) the degree of personally and professionally relevant content in the activities, and the teachers' perceptions of their leader behavior. Research Procedures. This study sought responses from a sample of 100 principals, randomly selected from a population comprised of all the principals in school districts identified as offering exemplary programs of professional self-renewal activities. In addition, responses were sought from five teachers in each school. The Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire was used to survey the teachers' perceptions of the principals' leader behavior. The Program Characteristics Opinionnaire, written and pilot tested by the researcher, was used to survey the principals' perceptions of: (1) the degree of individualization, (2) the degree of involvement of participants in the program planning and (3) the extent of program content relating to the personal and professional concerns of the participants, in the renewal sessions in which they have engaged. Data Analysis. The effects of the four independent variables of participation, individualization of activities, involvement in planning and relevance of content on the dependent variable of leader behavior were analyzed in a step-wise multiple linear regression. Findings and Recommendations. For all the principals in the districts studied, no statistical relationship was found between their participation in programs of renewal and their leader behavior. Neither was there any significant relationship between the principals' perceptions of individualization, involvement or relevance in their renewal programs, and their leader behavior. Significant correlations were found between involvement and relevance. No correlations were found among the four independent variables' combined relationship to leader behavior and their respective relationships to leader behavior. Hence, the five null hypotheses generated for the study were not rejected. Implications of the study for educational practice and research are summarized in the following recommendations: 1) Since no significant relationship was found between time spent in renewal activities and participants' subsequent leader behavior practitioners are urged to focus their efforts on improving the quality of participation in renewal rather than the amount of time spent in participation. 2) Planners and evaluators of administrator renewal activities are advised to check for differences in principals' perceptions of renewal program characteristics and particularly those differences between elementary and secondary principals before finalizing their plans and evaluations. 3) Researchers would do well to focus on the quality of participation in future investigations of administrator renewal by developing instruments to measure different kinds of participation and principals' attitudes toward participation.



School superintendents, School principals, School management and organization, Educational leadership