Leadership Styles of Female and Male Public Secondary School Principals and their Relationship to Students Academic Performance in Selected Counties in Kenya
Njogu, Irene Nyambura
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Academic performance of schools is important to education stakeholders in Kenya. In the past, announcement of results of national examinations created negative or positive reactions. Parents and stakeholders complain about poor school performance and attribute it to principal’s leadership. Research has established that certain leadership styles influence instructional effectiveness, organizational climate and job satisfaction of teachers, therefore stimulating good school performance. Some studies showed that female and male are similar while others showed they are different. There was no consensus on use of leadership styles thus, the study objectives was firstly to establish the leadership styles of female and male principals, and consequently; examine the relationship between use of directive, supportive, participative, achievement oriented leadership styles and students’ performance. The study had six null hypotheses. The study used correlation study design. The correlation was between two variables, leadership styles and performance categorised by gender of the principals. The study was conducted in Nyandarua, Nairobi and Garissa counties. The population targeted 214 schools, 214 principals and 3198 teachers. The sampled population was 10% of respondents. Stratified and purposive sampling was used to arrive at the sample. Stratified sampling was conducted to separate schools headed by either male or female principals and purposive sampling conducted to get principals who had been in the current school for 4 years and above. Thus, 24 principals, 24 HODs and 48 teachers were sampled. The sample was small because firstly, it was only principals who had been in the current school, for at least four years who participated in the study. Secondly, HODs and teachers were only drawn from schools where principals were sampled. Data was collected through questionnaires with a Likert scale measuring leadership styles. Quantitative data collected on differences in principal’s utilization of leadership styles was analysed using descriptive statistics and t test. ANOVA was used to compare group means of student performance when principals used leadership styles. The relationship between principals’ use of leadership styles and school performance was analysed using regression and presented in tables. The findings of this study showed a significant difference in use of leadership styles between female and male public school principals. The study also found that principals from the different counties preferred different styles of leadership. In addition, there was a relationship between directive, supportive, participative, and achievement-oriented leadership style and performance. When combined, all the four leadership styles (directive, supportive, participative, and achievement-oriented) had a positive relationship with student performance. However, the relationship was not significant. The study recommended that school leaders change their leadership styles to cater the gender differences identified in the study to improve students’ performance.In addition the study recommended that factors that hinder effectiveness of leadership styles be investigated in future research.