Efficacy Development And Transformational Leadership Attributes
The 21st century not only brings with it vast change and uncertainties but it also poses an enormous challenge to the education system. This change demands leadership and leadership demands skills. Survival of the organizations in this rapidly changing world demands leaders with extraordinary leadership competencies who will be able to bring out the full potential and capacity of the humankind. Hence, in the education system, the 21st century principals should be able to employ various skills and competencies creatively utilize the conflict in the organization and turn them into energies to the advantage of the organizations. It is with this in mind that this research attempts to explore more into the leadership factor in our educational system for organizational excellence.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Literature review reveals that there are many different definitions, perceptions and theories of leadership that have changed over time (Ricketts, 1997; Calabrese & Zepeda, 1999). However, all these literature agree on one common idea that is; leadershipis regarded as the single most crucial factor in the success or failure of any organization (Bass,1981) and that it remains the pivotal factor for the effectiveness of any organization at any time (Bennis, 1992) is unchangeable. Realizing this, the importance of principals’ leadership in continuous school improvement has definitely become a matter of interest of the educational planners. The vast intensity and responsibility in the role of the principal in today’s world of education certainly has increased in many folds. These leaders are expected to play multiple roles which include creating and defining a vision; fostering goals and high expectations from staff; developing the employees professional skills and providing resources and support; creating a school culture which fosters student learning and growth; and building collaborative relationships with stakeholders (Lashway,2003). Hence, it would be an understatement to say that the educational leaders today are just mere managers, administrators or instructional leaders. Their job scope, on the contrary requires them to be the sole guiding forces of their schools.
On the whole, there are two major functions that a principal must perform; that is management and leadership. Literature reviews indicate the principal is being torn apart between these two functions (Drake & Roe,1986; Kamaruddin, 1989; Hussein, 1993; Lashway,2003). The management function places primary responsibility upon those tasks that have to do with the smooth operation of the school. These tasks are usually routine, managerial and supervisory (Drake & Roe,1986). They are generally operated by prescription from the central administration. The leadership emphasis is concerned with motivating and directing the staff to achieve the goals of the school. These two functions are at once separate and entwined – functionally they are ‘intermingled’ (Hussein, 1993). On one hand, they are expected to concentrate on leadership and on the other hand, on proper administration and management of people and things as expected by the central administration (Drake & Roe, 1986). In Malaysia, admist these duties and the demands of the position, the principal is also responsible for the implementation of the objectives of the national educational system, the national integrative objectives and aspirations of the multiracial society (Kamaruddin, 1989). Hence, the demands of the ‘principalship’ position in this era of turbulent change, requires more than just competencies to be effective leaders.
Therefore, preparation for headship is vital and with the vast change that is taking place at an enormous pace, the capacity for coping with surprises may be one of the most important competencies of a successful head. Here must find some studies or information about headship competencies Research into the relationship of teachers’ self –efficacy with their performance, work attitude, student achievement, classroom management etc. has also received extensive interest (Harnett, 1995, Schunk, 1991,Hoy,W.K.,Tarter,C.J.& Bliss, 1990). However, where research in the area of principals’ self – efficacy concerned, there are just few attempts to explore the issue (Dimmock & Hattie, 1996; Harnett, 1995; Tschannen – Moran & Gareis, 2004, Sazali Yusuf, 2006). It is extremely important that research on preparation of educational leaders are given due consideration specifically in the area of principals’ self efficacy. ADD MORE on self efficacy.
A study by Huber, S.G & Hiltmann, M.(2010) found that in most countries a prerequisite for applying for a school leadership position is having a teaching licence and some experience in teaching in the respective type of school. It was also found that many countries require a participation in a preparatory training course or an extensive development program usually concluding with a certificate or a license, as in the case of Australia, England, Singapore and the United States of America. For example, in developed countries like the United Kingdom, since 1997 teachers aspiring headship must first take part in a training and development program; NPQH in order to qualify to be considered for appointment as school heads and since 2009, it was made mandatory to have completed NPQH prior to appointment to a first headship ( Huber, S.G & Hiltmann, M., 2010) .
In the early 1990s, our Education Ministry took the cue from these developed countries. Accordingly, the idea of having a special training programme for heads of schools was realised with the introduction of the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) by the Education Ministry in 1999. Currently, it is known as the National Professional Qualification for Educational Leaders (NPQEL). The one-year diploma course is aimed at equipping teachers with the right skills so that they may lead schools effectively. Eventually, holders of the NPQEL are supposed to form a pool of trained personnel from which vacancies for the post of school heads would be filled. However, there are still inadequency in some areas, specifically in the appointment of the aspiring principals. All aspiring teachers were encouraged to enrol for the course. It was envisaged then that in the years to come, the NPQH would be a necessary criterion for selection and appointment of new school heads. The National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) is a recognition by the Government of the importance placed on training and developing aspiring headteachers to take up the challenging and significant role of headship. The NPQH provides training and development for those aspiring to school headship. However, more than a decade has passed since and many batches of NPQH “students” have graduated. Enrolment for NPQH courses, with added and refined contents, continues to this day. However, the ministry has yet to make the NPQH a mandatory requirement for the selection of new school heads. As a result, many NPQH graduates are not in the “job” they have been professionally trained for and qualified to do. Many of these teachers were already senior assistants or heads of department of their schools prior to their enrolling for the NPQH. The irony is that on completion of their course, the majority of them are not appointed heads of school. Some are reappointed to positions parallel to their former positions but in another school. Many are just posted back to school as ordinary teachers. The officials in charge of schools (primary and secondary) in the State Education Department are responsible for the selection and posting of these NPQH graduates and The ministry endorses their recommendations. There seems to be no particular esteem or regard for the NPQH at all (New Strait Times, August 15, 2008).
There seem to be many unanswered questions on this issue. Questions regarding as to why the Ministry has not made the NPQH as a mandatory requirement for the selection of new school heads still persist? Is this situation due to the inadequacy of the training given or is it because those who underwent the training are still deemed as not fit as yet to take the responsibility of the headship. If so, what is lacking? A closer look into the current practices on recruitment and selection of school leaders and other related several factors that can be deemed as issues would be able to shed some light into this area.
Firstly, it is not an overstatement that the old system of selection and appointment of school heads still prevails, thus gaining precedence over the more professional approach and making a mockery of the introduction of the NPQH (New Strait Times, August 15, 2008). A system of selection and recruitment is very crucial. Selecting and developing principals with the right set of leadership skills is important (Marzano, et al., 2005) to ensure organizational success. The importance of recruitment and selection cannot be overemphasized, as an ineffective system will bring about a mismatch of man and job and this will cause the organization numerous problems later on. This holds true in our educational organizations too, where two factors : seniority and fair play often play important role in the leadership position decision making process. The Headship appointment in Malaysia is based on the Civil Servants Legislation which states that that government officers will only be promoted according to their seniority in the post taken into account (Laporan Jawatankuasa Kabinet, 1979). Besides that, it is also vital for them to possess a high score in annual government servant performance appraisal (‘Sasaran Kerja Tahunan’). The career path to principalship in Malaysia is through several administrative position or post such as The Head of Subject Panel, The Head of the Department, Senior Assistant of Co- curriculum, Senior Assistant of Students’ Affairs and Afternoon Session Supervisor. Recruitment and selection is done through “internal sourcing” which means existing employees are given priority to fill in the vacancy. However, this is not always the case. Principals appointed from other divisions within the Ministry of Education do not follow this career route. They are from the District Offices, State Education Departments, Teacher Training Colleges and Polytechnics ( ).
Generally, it is not done by recruiting and selecting a fresh candidate for the post (except in rare cases. The selection can either be through ‘time – based’ promotion or based on the expertise of a teacher in his or her field of teaching. If this is the case, then the teachers who underwent the NPQH training have in effect, “ lost out a year in seniority” as compared with their counterparts who have stayed on to “ guard their forts” (New Strait Times, August 15, 2008) . This shows that the question of leadership attributes are not given due consideration as it is deemed as something that can be improved overtime, through experience or through principal training programmes. However, a study by Sazali(2006) proves the opposite as he found that the number of posts held prior to principalship was only significantly related to one dimension out of six self- efficacy’s dimensions researched, that is managing school facilities. The reason for this phenomenon, he asserts could be that they were not fully carrying out the duties entrusted to them. They could have delegated their tasks to other teachers when they were holding the various senior teacher posts. He also further recommended that this phenomenon need to be explored further in order to understand why the career path provided did not help principals to enhance their self- efficacy. The question is: if the number of various posts in the career path held before principalship did not help in enhancing their self – efficacy, can a one – year NPQH/NPQEL provide this skill? If so, how or which element in the training helped to develop their self – efficacy?
Sazali (2006) also found that the tenure of principal ship was not significantly related to principal’s self – efficacy. This findings was similar to Tschannen – Moran and Gareis (2004) study which found that the number of years they had spent as principal did not correlate with principal sense of efficacy. It is believed that school principals would face and handle many school management activities, functions, conflicts and et cetera in their day to day duty. This cumulative experiences should have enhanced the principals’ self – efficacy. However, the opposite was found in the study. Sazali (2006) tried to provide explanation that this could be due to the perceptions of the principals themselves. He reasoned that the newly appointed principals perceived themselves as capable even though they have yet to face the real situations. While the experience principals who had really encountered various challenges, some were able to find solutions and some might have failed. These principals’ might have lowered their efficacy belief. It is due to this lack of concrete information on the issue that the researcher decided to embark in further researching on this scope. Therefore, this research hopes to provide further information to he Ministry to review the appointment of headship based on seniority and investigate issues and setbacks of the NPQH programme to ensure that it can be made as a mandatory requisite for all aspirants for the position of school head, even though other equally important factors need also to be simultaneously considered .
Secondly, the principals’ leadership is further made difficult by the hierarchical educational structure in Malaysia which to some extent does not give much autonomy for principals to make decisions. According to Molly (2006), contrary to common belief, the decentralization initiatives in Malaysia over the last two decades, have not relaxed the tight control of the Malaysian government over the provision and delivery of education at all levels in the country. ,The establishment of district education offices resulted in a shift of workloads, but not a meaningful transfer of authority from the state level to the district level. In the case of implementing national curriculum reform, the Ministry of Education initially delegated authority to the state level but later reclaimed that authority. According to Noor Azmi,(1988), most teachers inclusive of principals were not able to or did not want to use the significant amount of autonomy given to them over the delivery of the curriculum. On the other hand, they preferred to rely on specific instructions from the top so as to avoid the risk of being accused of doing something wrong. In addition, some officers at the top were also reluctant to relinquish their authority to their staff at the lower levels because they lacked confidence in their subordinates. This resulted in staff at the regional and local levels becoming unresourceful and over dependent on directives and guidelines from the centre. Hence, it can be concluded that the highly centralized system in Malaysia caused the “dysfunctional consequences” among the staff.
The decentralization of education on the whole had many problems even though it was done through delegation of authority and responsibilities. This is due to the attitude of the teachers and officers who did not respond to it positively (Molly, 2006). They were not willing to make independent decision but were rather shackled by the traditional practice of waiting for directive from the centre (Azizah ,1987),. This attitude is still evident in our school principals even today. Since they are used to accepting to decisions made at the top, they prefer to receive orders and execute them than to take responsibility and make decisions (The Star, 2007). This could also be due to the cultural background of our community where loyalty and obedience to the boss /head must be adhered to at all times. The boss’ decision should not be questioned, “saya yang menurut perintah” (“I who adhere to the order”). At the same time , the same quote, “saya yang menurut perintah” that should be included before signing off any formal letters to any government agencies, further highlights the tight control of the Malaysian Government over all governmental agencies and systems including the Malaysian Educational System.
It is interesting to note in a study on delegation styles and leadership perceptions: A comparison of Malaysia and America Managers, that Malaysia ranked first in terms of power distance while United States ranked thirty – eighth. Conversely, Malaysia ranked thirty – sixth in terms of individualism while the United States ranked the first (Dapne.L.S; Mahfooz A Ansari ; Muhammad Jantan, 2004). This shows that national boundaries do make a considerable difference in managers’ goals, competence, effective intelligence, emotional stability and leadership style (Bass,1990). In relation to this, Bass(1990), states that countries with low power distance favoured and accepted participative management while those with high power distance favoured and accepted autocratic styles. In another study by Gill (1998), found that Southeast Asian managers are significantly more directive, more negotiative and less delegative than American managers. He further asserts that the Southeast Asian managers may find their subordinates more dependent and they are overloaded as a result of lack of delegation, while Americans are notably more individualistic, independent and self- sufficient that people in other cultures. According to Gill (1998), in high power distance cultures, employees are frequently afraid of disagreeing with their boss and see their bosses as autocratic. Thus, Gill argues, high power distance, and indeed directiveness reflecting authoritarianism, may breed dependency and thus inhibit the development of human potential.
Thirdly, the issue of the dependency of educational administrators to training centres to upgrade their knowledge and skills. There is a dire need to shift the mindset of the principals that ............................................. This need was highlighted by The National Educational Management and Leadership Institute study tour participants to Burnaby School District, British Columbia, Canada in 2002. In their reflection, the authors put forth the strength and shortcomings in the preparation of educational leaders. They exert that in Malaysia, training centres are still expected to continue to play the role of being the expert in selecting and providing pre- determined training for educational growth. In addition to this, the principals expect salary increment and promotional opportunities to be awarded at the end of the training period. On the other hand, in Burnaby, educational leaders learn because they believe in continuous and life – long learning, even without any monetary or promotional rewards (Wan Chik Rahmah, et.al; 2002). This issue should be addressed immediately if Malaysia is to bring its education to the world – class attributes. We need to principals who can act as leaders and not mere managers.
An example of the lack of initiative on the part of Malaysian educational leaders is very evident from a research on ‘Vision Schools”. Malakolunthu (2009), in her research on ‘Vision School’ in Malaysia asserts that the competency of principals in the area of policy process, change management and human development in line with the ‘Vision School’ policy is crucial. However, it became obvious in her findings that a number of inadequacies exist. Most importantly, the school community, i.e. the principals as well as the teachers of the Vision School under study do not possess clear understanding of the aims and objectives of the Vision School and the ways to go about achieving its aspirations. They have some information from the Ministry of education, but not detailed enough to guide them or help them alter their practices or bring about changes in their administration, instructional practices, and community relationship. A number of reasons could be attributed for the lack of comprehension, competence and commitment on the part of the headmasters towards the Vision School. According to her, they boiled down to one truth that is they were not adequately, if not thoroughly, prepared as the leaders of the Vision School movement. By any means they were not running the extra mile to produce any extraordinary ideas or out of the box concepts that would help to inculcate and instil the spirit of the ‘Vision School’ among the students and staff. She further questioned that one could wonder what it would have taken for the headmasters to put together a curricular or co-curricular project to support the objectives of the Vision School, even if they were not professionally trained, only by understanding the spirit of the Vision School and fully empowered to see to its enactment. Hence, what could be stopping them ? Accordingly, Malakolunthu made three recommendations whereby she suggest that serious attention should be paid to :
a) Principal recruitment and selection processes,
b) Principal capacity building and professional development ,
c) Principal accountability and evaluation procedures.
This example certainly call for a dire need to shift the mindset of our educational leaders on dependency to the Government to increase their knowledge, qualification and skills.
In accordance to this, the trainings given to aspiring principals also play a crucial role. The trainings should be sufficient and able to change the mindset of these principals in helping them to manage and lead the school? Training is an investment whereby the employee is expected to upgrade their performance as a result of increased knowledge, attitude and skills. However, this is not always the case. Having knowledge and skills alone does not guarantee that these principals would be able to bring their organization to the next level. The success of their organization depends heavily on the implementation of the knowledge and skilled learnt these trainings. The core of their success of implementing these knowledge and skills lies on the self–efficacy belief that they principals possess in them as stated by Bandura ( find) . A highly efficacious principal will be able to persist in the face of adversaries. On the contrary, a low efficacious principal will not prevail. A study by Dimmock & Hattie( 1996) found that principals’ self – efficacy was significantly related to their ability to accommodate and cope with change. Hence, it is plausible to infer from the findings of Dimmock & Haiti (1996) that the massive and dramatic changes that are taking place globally and in the educational environment would certainly have a high degree of affect on the principals’ self- efficacy to perform his task effectively. Therefore, it is extremely important to provide the principals with training to increase their self- efficacy to enable them to cope with this vast change and uncertainties. It is with this view in mind that the researcher has undertaken this study which focuses on the elements that can enhance the self- efficacy in the NPQH/NPQEL aspiring principals training in National Institute of Management and Leadership. It is vital that the elements in the training that can enhance the self-efficacy are identified and further developed. The recent phenomenon of increasing social ills in which students and youth are involved , and with alarming statistics of indiscipline among students have aroused various educational authorities in the country to look into and tackle these problems ( Marina, 1997). In all these instances, the educational leaders are inevitably involved directly in resolving these problems effectively. Hence, it the present state of average Malaysian schools’ performances and problems associated with it certainly warrant that trainings that enhance the self- efficacy of the educational leaders are extremely essential.
This clearly shows the need to change the way we prepare our educational leaders. It is important that school leadership training programmes change according to the new realities. It is extremely important to develop high efficacious educational leaders who are able to cope with the many surprises of the future world.
There still remains a vacuum in this area especially in Malaysian context (Sazali 2006), specifically on how to develop the self–efficacy of the principals to meet the ever- increasing change in the field. It will prove to be useful later in the areas of principalship training, developing a career path for principalship and principalship certification (Sazali Yusuf, 2006). Hence, training programmes that are specifically able to tap the high self–efficacy attribute in our leaders are needed. Theories ( ) have proven how far or how high the principals will be able to take their organization depends on their intrinsic self – efficacy that they possess. The core of their success lies on the self–efficacy belief that these principals possess in them.
It is with this intention that the researcher hopes to further explore this avenue of self- efficacy in principal leadership effectiveness; specifically on transformational leadership. This research attempts to build and enhance the self–efficacy of school principals by identifying these elements in the NPQH/HPQEL training module and how specifically they contribute to the development on self–efficacy. It is believed that, this would be of great value in “awakening the giant” out of these aspiring principals.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The educational leaders must be prepared to face the forthcoming “tsunami” of challenges that associates with the leadership position in the 21st century. Principal Training Programmes, namely NPQH/NPQEL should recognize these challenges and hence, armour principals with the vital competence needed. These educational leaders need to be prepared in the best way as possible to be able to ‘swim through any kinds of waters’. The development of the self – efficacy beliefs in principals can bring a marked difference in their leadership performances. Self-efficacy is considered an important factor for the successful execution of skill and knowledge application in the tasks of instructional/transformational leadership (McCormick, 2001). However, little is known about how and when principals developed self-efficacious beliefs about the principalship. There is little evidence as to whether principal preparation programmes contribute to the development of, or change in, self-efficacy beliefs of aspiring principal candidates, It is also unknown how those beliefs may be influenced by specific elements of the program. Neither is there evidence which links more favorably perceived program elements to higher levels of self-efficacy development. Determining what practicing principals perceive about the effectiveness of their principal preparation programs and identifying the program elements that most influenced how their self-efficacy beliefs were changed or developed provides the context and basis for this study. As self –efficacy is positively related to transformational leadership, it is vital to identify traits of transformational leadership in the educational leaders who underwent the NPQH/NPQEL training to ascertain if the course is able to produce transformational leaders who will have a high self- efficacy to bring transformation of the school according to new realities.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What are the differences in the level of self–efficacy beliefs of aspiring principals in terms of ‘life cycle variables’ such as age, sex, years of experience, educational/academic qualification and school size?
What are the perceptions of the aspiring principals of the NPQH preparation program in preparing them for the demands of the principal leadership?
Are there any differences in the levels of self- efficacy of the principals before and after the NPQH preparation program?
What preparation program elements do principals perceive as contributing to the development of principal self-efficacy?
How did specific elements within the NPQH preparation program contribute to the development of principal self–efficacy?
What other elements/ experiences do principals identified that contribute to the development of self – efficacy during their preparation program?
Are there any traits of transformational leadership identified in the educational leaders who underwent the NPQH/NPQEL training
What is the relationship between self –efficacy and transformational leadership attributes in principals who have undergone the NPQH/ NPQEL preparation training.
What is the predicative ability of the self- efficacy constructs on transformational leadership attributes in the educational leaders who underwent the NPQH/NPQEL preparation training for organizational excellence.
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are as follows:
1.4.1 To identify the differences in the level of self–efficacy beliefs of aspiring principals in terms of ‘life cycle variables’ such as age, sex, years of experience, educational/academic qualification and school size?
1.4.2 To explore the perceptions of the aspiring principals of the NPQH/NPQEL preparation program in preparing them for the demands of the principal leadership?
1.4.3 To identify the differences in the levels of self- efficacy of the principals before and after the NPQH/NPQEL preparation program?
1.4.4 To identify what NPQH/NPQEL preparation program elements that aspiring principals perceive as contributing to the development of principal self-efficacy?
1.4.5 To explore how specific elements within the NPQH preparation program contribute to the development of principal self–efficacy?
1.4.6 To identify other elements/ experiences that principals identified that contribute to the development of self – efficacy during their preparation program?
1.4.7 To identify the traits of transformational leadership in the educational leaders who underwent the NPQH/NPQEL training.
1.4.8 To explore the relationship between self –efficacy and transformational leadership attributes in principals who have undergone the NPQH/ NPQEL preparation training.
1.4.8 To explore the predicative ability of self- efficacy constructs on transformational leadership attributes in the educational leaders who underwent the NPQH?NPQEL training for organizational excellence.
1.5 HYPOTHESES OF THE STUDY
1.5.1. Hypothesis 1
H01 : There are no significant differences in the level of self–efficacy beliefs of aspiring principals in terms of ‘life cycle variables’ such as age, sex, years of experience, educational/academic qualification and school size?
1.5.2. Hypothesis 2
H02 : There are no significant differences in the perceptions of the aspiring principals of the NPQH preparation program in preparing them for the demands of the principal leadership?
1.5.3. Hypothesis 3
H03 : There are no significant differences in the levels of self- efficacy of the principals before and after the NPQH/NPQEL preparation program?
1.5.4. Hypothesis 4
H04 : There are no significant differences in the NPQH/NPQEL preparation program elements that aspiring principals perceive as contributing to the development of aspiring principal self-efficacy?
1.5.5. Hypothesis 5
H05 : There are no significant difference in how specific elements within the NPQH preparation program contribute to the development of principal self–efficacy?
1.5.6. Hypothesis 6
H06 : There are no significant difference in the other elements/ experiences that aspiring principals identified that contribute to the development of self – efficacy during their preparation program?
1.5.7. Hypothesis 7
H07 : There are no significant traits of transformational leadership in the educational leaders who underwent the NPQH/NPQEL training.
1.5.8. Hypothesis 8
H08 : There are no significant correlation between self –efficacy and transformational leadership attributes in principals who have undergone the NPQH/ NPQEL preparation training.
1.6 RESEARCH / FRAMEWORK /MODEL
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.7.1 The study hopes to provide insights into the self – efficacy of school principals who have undergone the NPQH/NPQEL training and their effectiveness. The study makes a contribution to the identification and analysis of the skills needed to emphasize in the NPQH/NPQEL training to enhance the self- efficacy of the school principals before their take over the office. The mix- mode method/ design of the study provide good and important data source for understanding principals’ perceptions of the effectiveness of preparation programmes. The quantitative data gathered and analysed will be a guide for programme evaluation as it provides understanding of the programme effectiveness. The information on principals’ self–efficacy is very crucial as it provides data as to whether the principal preparation programme (NPQEL) is able to uplift the self- efficacy of the principals. This knowledge is important as understanding of the programme effectiveness is alone not sufficient. Knowledge about which aspects of the programme can develop the self- efficacy of the principals will help to ensure that these aspects are given due consideration when planning other principal preparation programmes or to upgrade the ones that are available now. This will further ensure production of quality principals who possess high levels of self- efficacy. The findings are also hoped to be of help to principals to understand and give due consideration to their self – efficacy beliefs in relations to their leadership behaviour in schools.
1.7.2 The information and knowledge gained from this study is expected to bring about realization of the importance of high self–efficacious beliefs among the principals to enable them to be the leaders in the 21st century school demands. This is certainly very important as principals with high levels of self- efficacy will be able to face the challenges such as pressures from state / district, budgetary constraints and other stake holders. The principal preparation programme without doubt is aimed to increase the principals’ professional skills and knowledge, however, these alone are insufficient for the principals to directly control ‘environmental conditions’. Nevertheless, by understanding how to increase their self-efficacy to equip them to wade in any challenging environmental conditions /waters will be an ultimate skill that principal preparation programmes can benefit from this study.
1.7.2 The research and its findings will be able to give an overview to educational training programme on the importance of self – efficacious beliefs for excellent leadership. This study will bring significant implications for school principals, for principal assessment centres, for supervisor of principals and for those who aspire to be a principal or those who are already in the principalship position. Understanding how to foster principals self–efficacy will certainly be and added value to these groups
1.7.3 The research will also provide useful information to be used as a yard stick and guide to the officers at the Ministry, department and other government agencies to upgrade their self – efficacy beliefs in order to upgrade their performance.
1.7.4 This research also anticipates the development of a valid and reliable instrument for assessing principals’ self – efficacy beliefs within the context of public schools in Malaysia.
1.7.5 Quality instructional leadership is important in every school. It is expected that the results of the study will be able to provide further support for principal preparation programmes in Malaysia. The study aspires to fill the research gap which has been identified in the relevant literature and to offer a new paradigm shift in the educational environment in preparing our educational leaders.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Evaluation by students, non -academic staff and parents were not carried out and this inevitably limits the findings of the research. In addition, the results derived from the instruments were limited by the amount of time and seriousness of effort contributed by those who completed the instruments. The researcher’s time constraints also further limits the research.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Bennis (1989) describes leaders as people who know what they want and why they want it, and have the skills to communicate to others in a way that gains their support.
(From Masters Thesis – also biblio ref.) Literature review reveals that there are over 350 definitions of leadership (Ricketts, 1997). This is because there are many different perceptions of leadership. Ricketts (1997) identified 7 major categories of leadership, which include (a) trait (b) power and influence (c) behavioural (d) situational (e) traditional (f) popularity and (g) combination. Calabrese & Zepeda (1999) agrees to this, by stating that the definition and qualities of effective leaders have changed as different theories of leadership emerged. Therefore, due to its wide possibility of characteristics, leadership is difficult to define. This is further agreed upon by Burns (1978), who notes that leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth.
However, from the many definitions of leadership, most include the notion of social influence (Klien, 1984). This means leaders must be able to influence those they lead. Stogdill (1974), in his book “Handbook of Leadership’ defines leadership as,
“…..the process [act] of influencing the activities of
an organized group in its efforts toward goal setting
and goal achievement”.
(Stodgill, 1974 pg.10)
Although Stodgill’s definition is acceptable but it is quite limiting. One limitation is that he does not account for the possibility of an emergent leader in an unorganized setting. However, it is agreeable that leadership is the process of influencing the activities of others. Koonts,et.al (1984), on the other hand, defines leadership as influence, the art or process of influencing people so that they will strive willingly and enthusiastically towards the achievement of group goals. This definition states two things that are necessary for effective leadership; that is , accomplishment (getting the job done) and influencing others (through people). These two are intertwined as only when the leader is influential, tasks can be done through others.
1.9.3. Transformational Leadership
Transformational leadership has been defined as superior leadership performance that occurs when leaders “ broaden and elevate the interests of their employees, when they generate awareness and acceptance of the purposes and mission of the group, and when they stir they employees to look beyond their own self- interest for the good of the group” ( Bass,1990, pg. 21)
Transactional leadership is often viewed as being complementary with transformational leadership. Thomas Sergiovanni (1990) considers transformational leadership a first stage and central to getting day-to-day routines carried out. However, Leithwood says it doesn't stimulate improvement. Mitchell and Tucker add that transactional leadership works only when both leaders and followers understand and are in agreement about which tasks are important.
1.9.4. Self – Efficacy
Self-efficacy is "people's judgments of their capabilities to organize and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performances" (Bandura, 1986, p. 391, Bandura, 1997, p.3.) Self-efficacy beliefs influence the courses of action people pursue, effort exerted, perseverance in overcoming obstacle es or failures, resilience to adversity, the extent to which thoughts are self-aiding or self-hindering when coping with environmental demands, and ultimately the level of accomplishments realized (Bandura, 1997). Self-efficacy beliefs provide the foundation for human motivation, well-being, and personal accomplishment. This is because unless people believe that their actions can produce the outcomes they desire, they have little incentive to act or to persevere in the face of difficulties.( Pajares, Overview of Social Cognitive theory and of Self Efficacy). Therefore self-efficacy is an important construct useful for understanding a broad spectrum of human behavior in various social contexts.
Educational reformers have discussed the role of the school principal as the key decision-maker, facilitator, problem-solver, and the agent of change at the school site. (Edmonds, 1979; Smith &Purkey, 1983, Sergiovanni,1991).
(From masters thesis –also biblio ref. )The term principal was derived from the word ‘prince’ and it means first in rank, degree, importance and authority (Kimbrough & Burkett, 1990). The principal perform dual functions, of a leader and a manager. According to Lunenburg (1995), principals are people who get things done with and through others. The principal, therefore, is the one with authority to make decisions concerning the operation of the school. Most principals begin their careers as teachers. Skilled from being a teacher are useful in carrying out the responsibilities associated with the principalship (Seyfarth, 1991). According to Baltzelt and Dentler (1983, cited in Seyfarth,1991), principals are responsible for nine major functions related to the operation of the school. the nine functions are; (1) organization of the school setting (2) resource and logistic management (3) staff supervision (4) staff evaluation (5) staff development (6) student discipline and safety (7) Instructional improvement (8) Curriculum innovation (9) Spokesperson of both school and district. These duties may be delegated to other members of the administrative team and even to teachers, but the principal bears ultimate responsibility for ensuring that they are being carried out timely and in an effective manner. The principal also has to be a role model for the school community in order to influence and motivate the staff to achieve common goals. In short, the principal has to be a ‘system thinker’ in order to perform his or her vast and demanding functions.
Training refers to “a planned effort by a company to facilitate employees’ learning on job – related competencies which include knowledge, skill or behaviours that are critical for successful job performance” (Noe, 2005, pg.3). The goal of training is not only for employees to master the knowledge, skill and behaviours emphasized in training programs but importantly to apply them to their day – to day activities.
1.10.1. Principalship Experience
1.10.2. Preparation - The term ‘preparation’ denotes that the focus is on the professional development of the principal prior to taking up this position. (Cardno. C, 2003).
1.10.3. Principal Preparatory Training
1.10.4. School Size
1.10.5 Idealized influence – The term is related to the fomulation and articulation of vision and or challenging goals. Behaviours related to this influence include instilling pride in others for being associated with the leader, inducing followers to go beyond self- interest for the good of the group, providing reassurance that obstacles will be overcome, promotion of confidence in achievement and execution of goals and tasks, talking optimistically about the future, articulating a compelling vision for the future and providing an exciting image of organizational change (Bass & Avolio, 1994)
1.10.6. Intellectual Stimulation – promotes intelligence, rationality and careful problem –solving. Behaviours related to intellectual stimulation include seeking differing perspectives when solving problems suggesting new ways of examining how to complete assignments and encouraging re-thinking of ideas that have not been questioned in the past (Bass & Avolio, 1994)
1.10.7. Individualized Consideration -is directed at treating the followers as individuals and not just members of a group. Behaviors related to individualized consideration include spending time in teaching and coaching, helping others develop their strengths and listening attentively to others’ concerns (Bass and Avolio, 1994).
(Below from TENA Thesis)
1.10.8. Instructional Leadership is the construct describing school
leaders who maintain a relentless focus on teaching and learning, lead complex change
and share leadership responsibilities” (Waters, Marzano and McNulty, 2003).
1.10.9. “Principal Preparation Program” refers to a university based degree or certificate program that includes coursework and experiences designed to ready candidates for a position as a school principal.
1.10.10. Self-Efficacy is a social cognition that describes an individual’s belief
in their capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce
given attainments (Bandura, 1997, p.3). Sources of self-efficacy are mastery
experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasion, and arousal states.
1.10.11 Mastery Experience is the primary source of self-efficacy. Mastery experiences are the most influential source of self-efficacy information because they provide the most authentic evidence of whether one can muster what it takes to succeed.
Successes build a robust belief in one’s personal self-efficacy. Failures
undermine it (Bandura, 1997, p.80).
1.10.12 Vicarious Experience is a second source of self-efficacy where the modeling of others has an affect on one’s self-efficacy. Beliefs about one’s capabilities are influenced by social comparative inference where the attainments of others’ who
are similar to oneself are judged to be diagnostic of ones’ own capabilities
(Bandura, 1997, p.87).
1.10.13. Social Persuasion is a third source of self-efficacy that comes from positive evaluative feedback and encouragement from significant others. Verbal
persuasion alone may be limited in its power to create enduring increases in
perceived efficacy, but it can bolster self-change if the positive appraisal is within
realistic bounds. People who are persuaded verbally that they possess the capabilities to master given tasks are likely to mobilize greater effort and sustain it than of they harbor self doubts and dwell on personal deficiencies when difficulties arise (Bandura, 1997, p.101).
1.10.14 Arousal States represents the fourth source of self-efficacy. In judging their capabilities, people rely on somatic information conveyed by physiological and
emotional states. People read these states in stressful or taxing situations as signs
of vulnerability to dysfunction. Because high arousal can debilitate performance,
people are more inclined to expect success when they are not best by aversive
arousal than if they are tense or viscerally agitated (Bandura, 1997, p. 106).
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