Influence of principals’ leadership styles on organisational climate in public secondary schools in Nyahururu district, Kenya
The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of principals’ leadership styles on schools’ climate through determining the extent to which principals’ participatory, authoritarian, free reign, and transformational leadership styles influence organizational climate in secondary schools. The study also sought to determine the challenges faced by principals in creating a positive organizational climate in secondary schools in Nyahururu district. Douglas MacGregor’s theory X and theory Y was used to explain the study variables. Descriptive survey design was applied in the study. The target population for the study was 24 principals, and 449 teachers in 24 secondary schools in Nyahururu district. Out of the targeted 84 respondents 68 responded giving a response rate of 81 per cent. Questionnaires were used as instrument for data collection. The study found that open organizational climate was prevalent in secondary schools to a large extent as indicated by 48 percent of the respondents. Autonomous climate and controlled climate prevailed in the schools to a large extent as indicated by 42 per cent and 40 percent of the respondents. On the participatory leadership style, the study revealed that 77 percent of the respondents agreed the style made teachers feel motivated which influenced organization climate positively. Regarding the influence of authoritarian leadership style, 65 percent of the respondents strongly agreed that, head teachers assign duties without consultation and issue directives which creates a negative climate. Finally, on the influence of transformational leadership style on organization climate, 69 percent of the respondents strongly agreed that in its presence teachers had positive interrelationships resulting into autonomous climate. The findings from the correlation analysis showed that the principals’ leadership style influenced organizational climate. This was evidenced by the fact that each of the leadership styles correlated with particular organizational climate with correlation less than 0.05 at 95% confidence level. The major challenges facing principals were found to include: inadequate resources, poor infrastructure and lack of parental support as indicated by 80 percent, 75 percent and 65 percent respectively. The study concluded that participatory, authoritarian and transformational leadership styles are commonly used by principals in secondary schools in Nyahururu district. Participatory and transformational leadership promoted open climate, authoritarian leadership promotes a closed climate while free reign leadership style promotes familiar school climate. The study recommends that head teachers in secondary schools in Nyahururu district should adopt participatory leadership style. It was finally recommended that another study be done in other counties to determine the effect of leadership style on the school performance which was not the focus of this study. The study concluded that participatory and transformational leadership styles influences organization climate positively. Authoritarian leadership style results into a controlled, closed or paternal school climate while free reign leadership style promotes familiar climate.