Transformational Leadership In Schools: Does Professional Experience Matter?
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It is undisputed that success or failure of any organization depends on its leadership. School efficiency that is measured by factors such as students’ academic performance and discipline is not an exception. A lot of blame has been attributed to the leadership styles used by the secondary school principals. This has created disharmony between the principals and other stakeholders. Scholars have tried to establish the kind of leadership behaviour that would enhance efficiency in organizations. One kind of leadership behaviour that has been a topic of debate among scholars for the past decade is transformational leadership. Whether or not this kind of leadership is present in principals who have been in the profession for long or less years would be of interest to many scholars. This study endeavoured to establish the differences between transformational leadership practices by school principals based on their professional experience in selected secondary schools in Kenya. The participants were administered Kouzes and Posner’s leadership Practices Inventory which identified the principal leadership practices in each of the five dimensions of “challenging the process”, “inspiring a shared vision”, “enabling others to act”, “modeling the way” and “encouraging the heart”. The sample consisted of 387 participants from 49 secondary schools in Kenya. Leadership behaviour was measured using the Leadership Practices Inventory-(“Self” and “others”). The findings indicated that principals who had professional experience of less than one year scored higher in three transformational leadership practices (modeling the way, enabling others to act, and encouraging the heart) than their counterparts who had over 9 years of professional experience. Pearson correlation showed a positive statistical significant correlation professional experience of principals and their LPI scores. It was recommended that there is need for retraining of practicing principals in transformational leadership so that they can match the changing trends in the modern society. Key words: transformational leadership, challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, modeling the way, encouraging the heart, professional experience