Brauckmann, S., & Pashiardis, P. (2011). A Validation Study of the Leadership Styles of a Holistic Leadership Theoretical Framework. International Journal Of Educational Management, 25(1), 11-32.
The purpose of the study was to determine the effect(s) of school leadership styles on student achievement at the lower secondary level in seven countries and was part of the European Union’s Leadership Improvement for Student Achievement (LISA) project. The study was done because the relationship between school leadership and school effectiveness – especially student outcomes – remains disputed.
This mixed methods LISA project employed not only quantitative and qualitative research, but also collaborative action research conducted by both school leaders and researchers. The sample included 1,287 teachers from seven countries: the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, and the Netherlands. The instrument employed was the LISA developed and validated Leadership Styles Questionnaire using a Likert-type scale consisting of 48 items. The sample was evenly divided according to gender, ranged from less than 10 years at the same school (66.5 percent) to more than 30 years (2 percent), and from less than 10 years teaching (43.6 percent) to more than 30 years (10.4 percent). 36.3 percent worked a low performing schools whereas 63.7 percent of schools worked in high performing schools. Exploratory factor analysis was performed on the data to establish internal reliability.
5 factors (i.e. leadership styles) were extracted from the data: instructional, participative, personnel development, entrepreneurial, and structuring.
These factors were used to formulate the Pashiardis-Brauckmann Holistic Leadership Framework. The framework was used to perform descriptive statistics on the previously collected data from LISA in order to predict school performance level using leadership style. Findings include that all leadership styles – except instructional – predicted the odds of a teacher working in a high or low performing school. Using the Hosmer and Lemeshow Test, the researchers showed that one unit of increase in entrepreneurial or participative styles decreased the likelihood of a teacher working in a high performing school by a factor of 0.484 and 0.581 respectively. One unit of increase in structuring or personnel styles produced an increase in the likelihood of working in a high performance school by a factor of 2.006 (the strongest predictor) and 1.44 respectively. ANOVA was also performed using the five leadership styles as the dependent variable and years of teaching as the independent variable. No significant effects were discovered. The researchers also concluded that
the strongest leadership style among European countries was entrepreneurial and can thus be regarded as a specifically European dimension of high quality school leadership. Additionally, the study showed that the style most positively correlated to low performing schools was participative.
The researchers cautioned not to interpret this finding as causal, but only correlational. Future research is recommended to determine the causal relationship between all five styles and school performance.