The study sought to examine the mediating role of organisational politics perception on leader-member exchange and work withdrawal behaviour among teachers in public senior high schools in the Sunyani municipality.

The Explanatory-Cross-sectional design with a sample size of 152 selected through the simple random sampling procedure, comprising 106 males and 46 females with an average age of 37 was used. Questionnaires were used and data was generally analysed using Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation, Simple Linear Regression and Independent Samples t-test. Also Hayes (2013) process approach for testing mediation was employed. Analyses of results revealed that, leader-member exchange had a significant negative relationship with composite work withdrawal, turnover, absenteeism and presenteeism but a positive weak correlation with acquiescent silence. Again, leader-member exchange had significant negative relationship with organisational politics perception. Further, organisational politics perception had a significant positive correlation with work withdrawal. Also, tenure did not relate positively with organisational politics perception. Moreover, there was no gender difference in organisational politics perception and work withdrawal. Lastly, organisational politics perception did not mediate the effect of leader-member exchange on work withdrawal. Based on the findings it was recommended that, heads of schools should endeavour to fulfil teachers’ expectations and ensure that there is equity in dealing with teachers if they want to portray fairness.

It cannot be overemphasised that teachers are easily affected by the behaviour of their heads who have direct relationship with them. This effect is likely to have a direct corresponding effect on students who are generally the direct beneficiaries of teachers. Sowmya and Panchanatham (2012) observed that in the teaching profession, teachers are affected by the feelings of work place politics. This necessitated the need to study how their perception of politics affect their behaviour in schools. Moreover, the more distributed school leadership is to teachers, the better the performance of that school in terms of student outcomes (Silins & Mulford, 2002). This study sought to examine whether politics perception mediates the effect of leader member exchange and work withdrawal among SHS teachers.

Background to the Study
Over the years, the roles leaders play and relationships they develop with their subordinates have been measured as fundamental components of subordinates’ work performance in various organizations (Yariv, 2009). It is an extremely difficult task for anyone to produce and maintain an imperative public school system in such a complex society without a committed and highly proficient teaching force or teachers working together for a continuous improvement of the schools (Fullan, 2003). In their study on principal-teacher interactions and how relationships shape attitudes, Price (2012) indicated that the satisfaction, cohesion, and commitment levels of teachers are highly influenced by the actions of the principals. Also, Ward (2010, p.84) postulates that for communities of practice teachers learn from what they experience within the group’s relationship to enable them to put their felt-experience into practice. It cannot be overemphasised that teachers will reciprocate when they are being made to experience an unfair treatment and submit to power and authority and vice versa.

Leaders have an important effect on employees’ attitudes and behaviours, both positive and negative employee outcomes (Agarwal, Datta, Blake-Beard & Bhargava, 2012). Studies have attributed the low level of performance to many factors comprising; poor teacher motivation, low level of job satisfaction, inadequate incentives, poor leadership and management, and the vertical decision-making procedure in the system (Akyeampong, 2010). World Bank (March, 2008) posits that the retention and the quality of education as well as the capacity of schools to improve teaching and learning is strongly influenced by the quality of the leadership more than the abundance of available resources. Walsh (2005) lays more emphasis on school principals, saying that building and sustaining a positive relationship with teachers maximizes the potential for student outcome rather than purely principals’ innate abilities, characteristics and behaviours. In South Africa, leadership training for secondary school heads was to improve quality of Education; concerted effort to improve school leadership is one of the most promising points of intervention to raise retention, the quality and efficiency of secondary education across Sub-Saharan Africa (Orodho, 2014).

Ironically, in Ghana principals and teachers are expected to work together, live in a genial relationship, have a mutual trust in each other, and share ideas together for the prime aim of accomplishing a common goal, however, most of these interactions tend to be cordial or strained (Annoh, p.109. as cited by Gyimah, 2013). The author (Annoh) further argues that to encourage a quality relationship in the school environment, heads should ensure: involving teachers in school administration, respecting teachers’ ideas, opinions and decisions, communicating freely with the teacher, acting as a role model for teachers, and being fair and just to teachers. He acknowledges that embezzlement of school funds and illegal collection of monies can make or mar the relationship between heads and teachers. In Ghana the teacher who is considered to be playing a key role and as the most significant potential of change agent in the system of schooling, is always criticized, blamed and scorned by all and sundry, especially by the educational officials, academia, the press, and the general public at large for low and unsatisfactory students’ achievement (Osei, 2006).

It cannot be denied that, most of such behaviours that are known to have led to poor performance of students may be credited to poor relationships between heads and teachers which stakeholders have ignored. Interpersonal working relationships are important because they are central to the well-being of the organisation. Thus, relationships in organisations, according to Trenholm and Jensen (2008), are a “jointly created worlds of shared meaning”. Relationships are unavoidably present and significantly important in the sense that every activity that goes on in any organization and schools in this context, happens in the milieu of relationships. There are many types of workplace relationships or interpersonal relationships which include leader-member relationship, peer-co-worker relationship, workplace friendship, customer relationship, romantic relationships and so on (Sias, 2009). Each of these relationships have both negative and positive effects on the parties involved. Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995) posited that leadership as a concept is made up of the three domains; the leader, follower and the relationship between them (i.e. leader-member exchange). Consequently, when there is a deficit with any of these domains in senior high schools then the long term effect will be on students’ academics.

Power distance refers to the extent that a subordinate or a less powerful member in an organization submits and accepts from his/her superior that power is reasonably distributed unequally in the relationship. Power distance, has led some leaders tend to exercise their authority over subordinates and might forgo their ideas even if their contribution could be relevant (Lian, Ferris & Brown, 2012; Casimir, Waldman, Bartram, & Yang 2006). When power distance seems to dominate in our schools, it is likely to put fear and apathy in teachers and they might feel relegated; they may therefore keep their contributions even if it would be relevant to the schools. Within the field of leadership, an approach that examines the quality of the relationship between a leader and a follower (Leader-member Exchange, LMX) has been popular (Yammarino, Dionne, Chun & Dansereau, 2005). According to LMX theory, leaders can develop special relationships, increased communication with different work group members whom they manage (Kraimer, Wayne & Jaworski, 2001). In this regard, high quality relationship is characterized by trust, liking, professional respect, and loyalty (Liden & Maslyn, 1998) and members demonstrate behaviours that are desirable within a particular organizational context (Van Breukelen, Schyns & Le Blanc, 2006).

LMX theory is defined as the quality of relationship that is shared between the leader and the subordinates (Krumm, 2001). Members who focused on only the formal role responsibilities became out-group members and received little attention or opportunities from the leader. However, in-group members negotiated with the leader, obtained extra opportunities and benefits from the leader in a form of mutual trust, confidence, attention, opportunities, information, and support (Hackman & Johnson, 2009, p. 91; Northouse, 2007, p. 171). Sparrowe, Liden, Wayne and Kraimer, (2001) posits that a vigorous leader member relationship is strengthened by the fact that it encourages followers to demonstrate more positive behaviours and increase employee morale. In the period between 1985 and 2009, 83% of all LMX studies captured the employee perspective, thus, when LMX is measured from the perspective of members and leaders, correlations tend to be modest (Hiller, Dechurch, Murase & Dotty, 2011).

According to Jacobs (1970), two main terms cannot be overemphasized “supervision” and “leadership” in defining LMX theory. A leader keeping a “supervisory” (named later as out-group, or low quality exchange) relationship with a member adheres closely to the employment contract between the member and the organization. In the supervisory relationship, the leader/member exchange is limited to the contract and there is little need for social interaction between the leader and member. Under this condition, the leader is treating the member as “a hired hand” (Dienesch & Liden, 1986). In a “leadership” (named later as in-group, or high quality exchange) relationship, the leader goes beyond the work contract. In this relationship, the leader offers more job latitude, influence in decision making, and open and honest communication in exchange for enhanced performance and organizational citizenship behaviours.

Furthermore, Leithwood, Harris and Hopkins (2008) put forward seven strong claims about what constitutes successful school leadership, which are considered vital in educational institutions. These include focusing on teaching pupils, responding to situations, improving learning, develop leadership capacities and distributing tasks between staff. Past research has established the organizationally advantageous nature of higher quality of LMX to be positively related to a number of work outcomes, promotions (Ansari, Hung, Aafaqi, 2007), organizational commitment and job satisfaction and job performance (Dulebohn, Bommer, Liden, Brouer, & Ferris, 2012; Ilies, Nahrgang & Morgeson, 2007).

Council on efficiency and equity in education and training (2006) recognize that “the quality of school leadership is one of the key factors in achieving high quality learning outcomes. Leaders have unique relationship with members within work groups due to varying quality of social exchanges between them (Allinson, Armstrong, & Hayes, 2001). Erdogan and Bauer (2010) showed that the effects of LMX differentiation on work attitudes, co-worker relations, and retention within the work group were contingent on the fairness climate that existed in the group such that, LMX differentiation had negative effects on outcomes only when fairness climate was low. There is a need for organizations to understand LMX and its role in the survival and fitness of business operations, which is to maximize organization success by establishing positive exchanges between leaders and their individual subordinates (Truckenbrodt, 2000). An exhaustive review of the field recently concluded that a cluster of six items tended to predominate in most studies: these were mutual support, trust, liking, latitude, attention and loyalty (Schriesheim, Neider, & Scandura, 1999). Knowing what constitutes a good relationship makes it easier to preserve and improve it. This relationship whether favourable or unfavourable will lead teachers to perceive fair or unfair treatment, thus perceive the working environment as either favourable or unfavourable.

Organizational politics are informal, unofficial, and sometimes behind-the-scenes efforts to sell ideas, influence an organization, increase power, or achieve other targeted objectives (Brandon & Seldman, 2004). Kacmar and Ferris (1991) have argued that the higher in an organization one perceives fairness in distribution processes and fairness in procedures, the less likely they view the organizational setting as political. Thus when the relationship between a leader and his subordinate are efficiently managed, thus fairness perceived, there will be less feeling of politics. Those who follow proper procedures often feel jealous and resentful because they perceive unfair distributions of the organization’s resources, including rewards and recognition (Parker, Dipboye, & Jackson, 1995). The most common forms of employee work disengagement are withdrawal behaviours, which manifest as absenteeism, employee turnover, tardiness, and burnout (Timms, Brough, & Graham, 2012).

Statement of the Problem
An indirect activity such as school leadership would mostly produce influence on teaching and learning opportunities (Vidoni, Bezzina, Gatelli, & Grassetti, 2008). The quality of leadership matters in determining the motivation of teachers and the quality of their teaching as the teacher’s performance directly affects student’s performance (Sergiovanni, 2000). From this perspective, certain work environment factors cause negative emotions in the employee such as anger, guilt, or boredom, and these negative emotions in turn lead to counter productive work behaviours. According to Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995), leadership literature over the years has mostly focused on the leader’s influence at the neglect of other domains such as the subordinates and the dyadic relationship that exists between the leader and the led; the issue has created confusion, disagreement and complexity in understanding what leadership really is.

Globally, employee withdrawal behaviours consume approximately 15% of an organization's payroll (Hicks, Faulk & Quirin, 2015). In Ghana, the public sector has the highest number of employees in the formal sector (Adei

Boachie-Danquah, 2003) and contributes so much to the economy of the country, it is important that studies of perceived organizational politics on employee commitment be done in the public sector and schools for that matter. The behaviours of teachers, who directly deal with students, are

important to determine students’ performance. The use of politics in an organization is quite common throughout the world and school is no exception (Downe, Cowell & Morgan, 2016). Cobbold (as cited in Sam, Effah & Osei-Owusu, 2014) postulated that, “policy makers and school leaders in Ghana encounter the challenge of retaining qualified teachers in schools to ensure quality teaching and learning for all students”

Past research has noted that when people are asked to report what constitutes unfair treatment, their responses have focused on interpersonal rather than structural factors (Valle & Perrewe, 2000). Most of the researches done in organizational politics have been in the private sector organizations (Vigoda & Kapun, 2005). Politics is an unavoidable aspect of modern organizations (Ferris, Frink, Galang, Zhou, Kacmar & Howard, 1996). According to Hochwarter, Kacmar, Perrew√© and Johnson (2003), political environment at work can affect employees in different ways ranging from extremely beneficial to enormously harmful. A recent study informs that there is a problem of understanding the parameters within which heads/principals and teachers work and the process of achieving the demands of the educational principles; this has seriously portrayed the relationship between heads and teachers as a milieu of conflicts and counter accusations (MacBeath, Swaffield, Oduro, & Bosu, 2010). The head’s status is affirmed and preserved by maintaining a distance from teachers, symbolically behind his or her office desk and by not being seen to socialize with staff” (MacBeath et al., 2010).

In addressing the popularity of withdrawal behaviours that results from head-teacher relationship, studies conducted focused on the production and service organisations other than senior high schools. These studies did not focus on the work withdrawal tendencies that may arise from the differences in the head-teacher relationship. For instance, a study by Milner, Katz, Fisher and Notrica (2007) focused on gender and the quality of the leader-member exchange: findings from a South African organisation while Gyimah (2013) focused his study on the relationship between heads and teachers in junior high schools in Ashanti Region. Thus, there is a limited study on leader-member exchange relationship in Ghanaian schools especially second cycle institutions.

Again none of such research has been conducted in the Sunyani municipality where the researcher seeks to conduct the research. Withdrawal behaviours constitute a significant expense for many organizations (Lobene & Meade 2013). The researcher therefore wishes to is to examine the mediating role of organisational politics perception on leader member exchange and work withdrawal behaviour among teachers in public senior high schools in the Sunyani municipality.

Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to examine to the mediating role of organisational politics perception on leader member exchange and work withdrawal behaviour among teachers in public senior high schools in the Sunyani municipality.

Research Objectives 
Specifically, the study sought to:

Assess the relationship between leader member exchange and work withdrawal (turnover intentions, absenteeism, presenteeism and acquiescent silence).

Ascertain the relationship between of LMX and organisational politics perception.

Assess the relationship between organisational politics perception and work withdrawal (turnover intentions, absenteeism, presenteeism and acquiescent silence).

Examine the relationship between tenure of teachers and organisational politics perception.

Assess gender difference in politics perception and work withdrawal

Assess the extent to which organisational politics perception mediates

LMX and work withdrawal.

Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated to guide the study.

H1: There is a significant negative relationship between leader member exchange and work withdrawal (turnover intentions, absenteeism, presenteeism and acquiescent silence).

H2: LMX has significant negative relationship on organizational politics perception.

H3: There is a significant positive relationship between organizational politics perception and work withdrawal (turnover intentions, absenteeism, presenteeism and acquiescent silence).

H4: There will be no significant relationship between tenure and politics perception

H5: There will be no gender difference in (a) politics perception and (b) Work Withdrawal

H6: There will be no mediation role of politics perception on the effect of LMX and Work withdrawal.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Topic  |  Size: 137 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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