Influence of headteachers’ leadership styles on students’ discipline in public secondary schools in Kericho sub-county, Kericho county, Kenya
The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of head teachers’ leadership styles on students’ discipline in Kericho Sub-County, Kericho County. Specifically, the study sought to establish the influence of autocratic leadership style, democratic leadership style, laissez-faire leadership style, transactional leadership style and transformational leadership style on students’ discipline. This study was anchored on the Contingency Theory of Leadership, developed by Fiedler (1964) cited in (Cole, 2002). The study used descriptive survey design to explore the influence of head teachers’ leadership styles on students’ discipline. Target population consisted of 32 head teachers, 330 teachers and a total of 12750 students in Kericho Sub-County. Mugenda and Mugenda (2003) sampling procedure was used to determine the sample size. Sample size of 10% was utilized in obtaining 3 schools with 33 teachers that were used for piloting study. For students, however, five (5) were purposively picked from each of the 3 schools taking part in the piloting study. For the main study, 30% of the total population was used to select 9 head teachers and 99 teachers. For students, however, purposive sampling technique was applied (Best & Kahn, 2006) to select 10 students from each sampled school. Hence, from the 9 schools, 90 students took part in the main study. Head teachers’ questionnaires, teachers’ questionnaires, students’ questionnaires and question guided interviews for head teachers were used to collect data. Content validity was used whereby research tools were presented to university supervisors and the panel members. Reliability of the questionnaires was done through piloting and test retest method. The study yielded data that required both qualitative and quantitative analysis. Quantitative results of data analysis were presented mainly in frequencies and percentages in table format. From the findings of the study, it was established that the common discipline problems experienced in school are examination cheating (37%), drug abuse (17%) and absenteeism (25%). Findings also indicate that democratic leadership style has a great influence on students’ discipline in public secondary schools. Teachers indicated that there is need for head teachers to use democratic leadership (62.5%) besides transformational (50%) where discipline should be positive and constructive. It was also established that autocratic leadership was exercised in schools by the head teachers. From the results obtained a majority of the teachers disagree (75.0%) that the autocratic leadership style is necessary in order to enable people to work as expected. Besides, other head teachers exercised laissez-faire leadership where they always permitted members to take it easy in their work (77.8%). The study recommends that head teachers and teachers should adopt democratic leadership style that is was liked by a majority. Dictatorship can affect students’ discipline and has always led to unrests in schools. Given the scope and limitations of this study, the researcher recommends a replica of this study to be conducted in other sub-counties in Kenya. Besides, other studies closely related this study to be done in order to establish whether there was any kind of relationship between students’ discipline and the leadership style in other public secondary schools in other Counties in Kenya.