The Relationship between Elementary Teachers' Perceptions of Principals' Leadership Effectiveness and Teacher Burnout Open Access
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Abstract of DissertationThe Relationship Between Teachers' Perceptions of Principals'Leadership Effectiveness and Teacher Burnout Burnout, an ever-present concern in the teaching profession, is arguably related to principals' leadership effectiveness. The purpose of this study was to investigate relationships between elementary school teachers' levels of burnout and their perceptions of their principals' leadership effectiveness. Data were gathered using the Maslach Burnout Inventory Educators Survey (MBI-ES) (Maslach & Jackson, 1981a) and the Leadership Effectiveness and Adaptability Description (LEAD) Other Survey (Hersey & Blanchard, 1976). The MBI measures aspects of burnout using three dimensions: (a) emotional exhaustion, (b) depersonalization, and (c) personal accomplishment. The LEAD Other Survey measures leadership effectiveness using situational leadership theory (SLT), in which leaders have a primary (most used) leadership style and often a secondary (backup) leadership style. The research questions that guided this study were the following: What are the levels of burnout as reported by the elementary teachers in a suburban school division in the Mid-Atlantic region? What are teachers' perceptions of their principals' leadership effectiveness? To what extent is there a relationship between teachers' perceptions of principals' leadership effectiveness and burnout? A correlational research design was used. It was found that the 127 teachers in the sample felt a moderate degree of emotional exhaustion, a low degree of depersonalization, and a high degree of personal accomplishment. In addition, most teachers (70.17%) perceived their principals as having a low to moderate level of leadership effectiveness. Teachers perceived that principals' leadership effectiveness was significantly negatively correlated with one of the burnout scales: depersonalization (r = -.205, p < .02). As teachers perceived their principals as less effective, they experienced more depersonalization. The results of the current study, the moderate levels of emotional exhaustion, low levels of depersonalization, and high levels of personal accomplishment revealed by the results of the current study were encouraging. Although some researchers consider emotional exhaustion to be of great concern among professionals (Maslach et al., 1996), a troubling possibility is that the issue of decreasing reliability of the instrument is of greater interest. The finding that teachers, overall, perceived their principals to have moderate levels of leadership effectiveness is also cause for concern.