Teacher commitment has been identified as one of the most important factors for the success of schools. Teacher commitment is closely connected to their work performance, their ability to innovate and integrate new ideas in their practice, absenteeism, staff turnover, as well as having an important influence on students’ achievement and attitudes toward school. Ignoring the connection between teacher commitment and leadership style of head teacher can be considered dangerous. This is because school leadership is considered to be highly significant in influencing teachers’ levels of commitment to their work. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between head teacher’s leadership style and teacher commitment in Makueni Sub County. The target population was all teachers in Kenya. The accessible population was teachers from Makueni Sub County. The study used co relational research design method. A sample of 96 teachers was selected from 364 teachers in 34 public secondary schools from Makueni Sub County. A stratified sampling was first adopted for the study. This was followed by proportionate stratified random sampling from each sub- population. The supervisors and other experts in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Educational Management, Egerton University determined validity of the instruments. Reliability was determined using Cronbach’s alpha, which was determined at a reliability coefficient at 0.7536, after piloting of the instruments in 10 schools in Makueni district. A questionnaire and a guided interview were used to collect the required data for the study. Data analysis was done using both descriptive (frequencies and percentages) and inferential statistics (Pearson product moment correlation coefficient). Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) was used to facilitate data analysis. The results were accepted at 0.05 critical level of statistical significance. The key findings of the study indicated that there no significant relationship between head teachers leadership style and punctuality to school duties, meting of set deadlines, keeping records of work and working overtime by teachers . From findings the study recommends that Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and Ministry Of Education (M.O.E) should increase the number of in service courses in management for teachers and head teachers especially the newly promoted ones. The results of the study provided a basis for making decision on content seminar courses for management of head teachers and teachers so as to improve teacher commitment.

Background of the study
Leadership is the process of influencing people to achieve organizational objectives and goals (Dubrin, 2005). Leading focuses on the efforts of the manager to stimulate high performance. This involves directing, motivating, communicating with employees both as individual and groups (Bateman and Zeithmal, 1990). According to Sisungo (2002), a head teacher as a leader should have motivational, delegation, verbal communication, group work, human and conceptual skills. Sisungo further argued that lack of such skills makes a head teacher less effective in his or her work. Different leadership styles exist in work environments. Advantages and disadvantages exist within each leadership style. The culture and goals of an organization determine which leadership style fits the firm best but some companies offer several leadership styles. Choosing the right leadership style is the key element of leader effectiveness (Naylor, 1999).

In democratic leadership style leadership values the input of team members and peers, the responsibility of making final decision rests with the leader (Okumbe, 1998).This kind of leadership boosts employee morale because employees make contributions to the decision making process. It causes the employees feel as if their opinions matter. When a company needs to make changes within the organization, this leadership style helps employees accept changes easily because they play a role in the process. This style meets challenges when the companies need to make a decision in a short time (Day 2004). The autocratic leadership style allows managers to make decisions alone without input others (Chand and Prakash, 2007). Managers posses total authority and impose their will on employees. No one challenges the decisions of autocratic leaders. This leadership style benefits employees who require close supervision. Creative employees who thrive in group functions detest this leadership style (Okumbe, 1998).

In laissez faire leadership style, the leader lacks direct supervision of employees and fails to provide regular feedback to those under his/hers supervision (Dubrin, 2005). Highly experienced and trained employees requiring little supervision fall under laissez faire leadership style.

However not all employees posses those characteristics. This leadership style hinders the production of employees needing supervision. The laissez faire leadership style produces no leadership or supervision efforts from managers, which lead to poor production, lack of control and increasing cost. In transformational leadership style leaders and their followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation (Chand and Prakash, 2007).The leader raises morality and motivation of followers by; being a model of integrity and fairness, setting clear goals, showing high expectations, encouraging followers and providing support and reorganization. In addition the leader stirs emotion of people, makes them look beyond selfish- interest and inspires people to reach their improbable. People need a compelling reason to follow their leader, this is why a leader needs to create and communicate an inspiring vision of the future. Transformational leaders are also able to manage delivery of the vision (Day, 2004). A vision has no use unless it becomes a reality. Therefore a leader needs to build self displine and stamina for the achievement of the vision. In addition transformational leader is able to build a strong and trust relationship with people by being open and honest in his/her interactions (Dubrin, 2005).

In transactional leadership style, leaders monitor followers carefully to ensure rules, reward success and punish failures (Kruger, 2008). The leaders are good in setting expectations and standards that maximize the efficiency and production of an organization. They give constructive feedback regarding followers’ performance that allows group members to improve their output to obtain better feedback and reinforcement. Followers are not encouraged to be creative or to find new solutions to problems. Transactional leadership style tend to be effective in situations where problems are simple and clearly defined (Naylor, 1999). It can also work well in crisis situations where the focus is on needs to be on accomplishing certain tasks. While transactional leadership can be useful in many situations, it is considered insufficient in many cases and may prevent both leaders and followers from achieving their full potential (Blasé and Kirby, 1992).

In situational leadership style, leader effective is contingent on his ability to modify his/her management behavior to the level of his/her subordinates’ maturity or sophistication (Okumbe, 1998). A follower’s task maturity is the ability of the followers to perform a task (Naylor, 1999).Under situational leadership style, the leader’s function is to determine the level of follower’s task and psychological maturity. Once the leader determines a follower’s overall level of maturity the leader should adjust his behavior in a way that most effectively manages the follower’s behavior in line with followers’ maturity (Bateman and Zeithmal, 1990). More mature employees require less direction and support, while employees with less maturity require more direction.

A servant leader leads by serving others. In servant leadership style, leaders place the interests and needs of their followers ahead of their interest and needs (Naylor, 1999). They value the development of their followers, build their communities, acting authentically and sharing power. According to Kruger (2008) servant leaders have the following characteristics; active in listening, show empathy, high foresight, stewardship, healers, great awareness of environment and persuasive. These leaders influence others through persuasion rather than excessive use of authority or coercion. They have ability to see consequence of events or actions involving their organization and its members. They are stewards, which mean they view their position as having caretaking responsibility over their organization and members as opposed to dominion over them. Servant leaders in addition have ability to heal themselves and their followers through creating sense of well being. They have ability to empathize. That is they have ability to detect and understand emotions being felt by others. Moreover these leaders are generally aware of the environment and issues affecting their organization and its members.

Convectional leadership style involves whether to focus on the task or on people (Bateman and Zeithmal, 1990). Therefore convectional leadership style is sub divided in to two leadership styles; task oriented and people oriented leadership styles. A similar idea talks about providing structure versus showing consideration for people. Either way it is a question of the best way to get work done through employees is to offer them clear direction, structure any task related guidance(task oriented) or whether to focus on needs of employees to be motivated, recognized, valued and included (people oriented). No leadership style is the best, but in crisis or when job needs to be done quickly task oriented is the best (Dubrin, 2005). Another leadership style is consultative leadership style. In consultative leadership style the leaders ask employees for input but make their own decision (Okumbe, 1998). In charismatic leadership style, the leader gathers followers through dint of personality and charm, rather than any form of external power or authority (Naylor, 1999). They Pay much attention to the person they are talking to at any one moment, making that person feel like they are for that time the most important person in the world. These leaders pay great deal of attention in scanning and reading their environment, and are good at picking up moods and concerns of situation. They may engender trust through visible self-sacrifice and taking personal risks in the name of their beliefs. They show great confidence in their followers. Charismatic leaders are very persuasive and make very effective use of body language as well as verbal language (Dubrin, 2005). This leadership style is used by politicians to gather large numbers of followers and by religious leaders to pull crowds. Despite their charm and apparent concern, charismatic leaders may be more concerned with themselves rather than anyone else (Day, 2004). The values of charismatic leader are highly significant if they are well intentioned towards others, they can elevate and transform entire company. If they are selfish, they can create cults and effectively rape minds of their followers.

Other leadership styles include; coaching, cross-cultural, leader exchange, emergent strategic, strategic, facilitative and team leadership styles (Naylor, 1999).These leadership styles are not frequently used. Some leadership styles overlap (charismatic and transformational) while others are used less frequently (strategic and cross-cultural) and still others are polar opposite to one another (Naylor, 1999). Therefore there are three main leadership styles; democratic, laisez faire and autocratic.

According to Chant and Prakash (2007) the kind of leadership style adopted may affect teacher commitment in schools. The participatory techniques and majority role decision making used by a democratic leader makes employees more committed even in absence of the leader. Employees displeased with the close and strict leadership. Okumbe (1998) further reasoned that leadership is situational and therefore the choice of any leadership style which will lead to achievement of organizational goals and objectives depends on the nature of organization and of the society at large.

The concept of organizational commitment has received increased attention because it is a potential determinant of employee performance, absenteeism and turn over. Practitioners and researchers emphasize the importance of a loyal committed work force. This is because individuals who are committed represent a more stable and consistent body of employees. Such employees will exert effort even when work conditions are not ideal (Chand and Prakash, 2007). With a trend in decline of employees’ commitment in many organizations, commitment has become an increasingly important issue for all types of organizations (Mohanty, 2002).

Okumbe (1998) defined organizational commitment as evaluation of the linkage between individual employee and the organization. This means that such a link will lead to strong belief in and acceptance of goal and values, a willingness to exert a considerable effort on behalf of the organization and a strong desire to maintain organizational membership. Therefore for a committed body of organizational members there exists a positive and effective bond between individuals and the organization with the intention to exert effort and stay with the organization. Committed employees are therefore not passive members but are involved in organizational activities.

The commitment that beginning and practicing teachers bring to the workplace may be the single most important factor influencing their work and performance in schools (Day, 2004). Research on teacher commitment indicates that teachers with high levels of commitment work harder and demonstrate stronger affiliation to their schools and demonstrate more desire to accomplish their goals of teaching than teachers with low levels of commitment. More importantly, students taught by more committed teachers are more likely to learn and develop a more positive attitude towards school than those taught by teachers with low level of commitment (Okumbe, 1998). With limited exceptions less research exists on teacher commitment (Graham, 1996). Fortunately the growing interest in this topic particularly among classroom educational researchers can provide direction for beginning and practicing teachers. Therefore the purpose of this study was determine to whether teachers are committed to their work and whether the leadership styles of the head teacher has effect to teacher commitment.

Research work has suggested that teacher commitment may be multidimensional (Firestone and Pennell, 1993). Teachers may feel committed to the teaching profession or to the school or to the students. Understanding commitment is somewhat limited due to the interrelationship among these different areas. What is understood is that some people mix commitment with the profession, the school and the students. At least six primary factors affect teachers’ commitment in their workplace. These are autonomy and efficacy, participation, feedback, collaboration, learning opportunities and resources (Firestone and Pennell, 1993). Teachers who experience high levels of these factors demonstrate greater commitment than teachers who do not.

Autonomy is the teacher’s freedom to schedule work and determine procedures used to carry it out. The concept involves being self initiating and in control of one’s own actions. Autonomy is closely related to efficacy or the extent to which the teacher believes he or she has capacity to affect students’ performance (Okumbe, 1998). A teacher who experiences high levels of both autonomy and efficacy is one who has been given or has assumed the authority to make decisions about what and how to teach, who teaches with who, the intent to bring about students learning, and who believes that his or her actions as a teacher can ultimately influence what students learn in class. Participation refers to the relationship between participatory decision and school based management (Louis, 1990).The concept involves a teacher’s willingness either to take advantage of school structures that promote involvement in school policy-making or to create opportunities for such to occur.

Teacher feedback is the amount of direct clear information a teacher receives about his or her work performance and effectiveness (Firestone and Pennell, 1993). Feedback can enhance a teacher commitment by confirming the success of some instructional efforts and signaling problem areas in others. A major source of feedback for a teacher at all levels can be colleagues, head teacher and students. Asking students at the end of the class to write down several things they learned that day can provide helpful feedback. A fourth factor influencing teacher commitment, collaboration involves two or more people working together on a task. Communication among teachers can foster a sense of affiliation within the school and a sense of mutual support and responsibility for the effectiveness of instruction (Louis, 1998).

Learning opportunities such as training of teachers in the school or outside the school helps to modify attitude, knowledge or skill behavior to achieve effective performance in an activity or range of activities (Naylor, 1999).The purpose of training is to develop abilities of teachers in pedagogical skills. This increases teacher competence, which is likely to make teachers more committed. Teachers need teaching resources to be effective in their work (Okumbe, 1998). Lack of such materials is likely to make a teacher feel frustrated because it would be difficult to effectively teach without teaching and learning resources. Such a teacher is most likely to be less committed.

According to the MOE (2001) committed teachers; meet deadline set by the school, are punctual in their duties, keep records of work and are willing to work overtime when need arises. Therefore in this study teacher commitment was determined by extent to which teachers; kept records of work, were willing to work overtime when need arises and lastly met deadlines set in the school.

Despite the great role played by head teachers in schools, some head teachers lack management like organizing, leadership, directing, supervising and evaluating skills (M.O.E, 2001). A task force report by government on discipline and unrest reveals that schools have been experiencing increased unrest because of ineffective management due to lack of leadership skills by the head teachers in various aspects of school management ( M.O.E, 2001). According to the same task force there has been interference by the politicians, Board of Governors (B.O.G) and sponsors in appointment of school heads. This has resulted in schools having head teachers with poor leadership skills.

There is possibility of lack of teacher commitment in Makueni sub county (D.E.O, Makueni sub county Education officer, 2010).This is because in some schools in Makueni Sub County; teachers are not willing to work overtime when need arises and some of them do not keep records of work like schemes of work and lesson plans as well as not being punctual to their duties like class attendance and do not meet deadlines set for school activities and programs. Therefore this study endeavors to determine whether there is any relationship between head teacher’s leadership style and teacher commitment.

Statement of the Problem
Teacher commitment is crucial to effective schools, teacher satisfaction and retention. Students with committed teachers are likely to perform better and have a positive attitude towards education compared than students with less committed teachers. Committed teachers are likely to help head teachers in displine management in the school compared with less committed teachers. Relationship between teacher commitment and leadership style cannot be ignored. Therefore schools require knowledgeable head teachers who are able to choose leadership style or styles which fits best for his or her staff. The best leadership style or styles increases job satisfaction which is likely to bring teacher commitment. Therefore this study sought to determine relationship between head teacher’s leadership styles and teacher commitment in public secondary schools in Makueni sub county, Makueni Count, Kenya.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to determine relationship between head teacher’s leadership style and teacher commitment in secondary schools in Makueni sub county.

Objectives of the Study
The following objectives guided the study

1. To determine the relationship between head teacher’s leadership styles and teachers punctuality to school duties.

2. To determine the relationship between head teacher’s leadership styles and meeting of set deadlines by teachers in school programmes.

3. To determine the relationship between head teacher’s leadership styles and keeping records of work by teachers.

4. To determine relationship between head teacher’s leadership styles and willingness of teachers to work over time when need arises.

Research Hypotheses
The proposed study sought to test the following null hypothesis

1. There is no statistically significant relationship between head teacher’s leadership styles and teachers’ punctuality to school duties.

2. There is no statistically significant relationship between head teacher’s leadership styles and meeting of set deadlines by teachers in school programmes.

3. There is no statistically significant relationship between head teacher’s leadership styles and keeping record of work by the teachers.

4. There is no statistically significant relationship between head teacher’s leadership styles and willingness of teachers to work overtime when need arises.

Significance of the Study
The findings of this study may be particularly significant to school leaders, teachers, the Ministry of education and students. School leadership is considered to be highly significant in influencing teachers’ level of commitment and teachers’ willingness to engage in cooperative, reflective and critical activities. It is also through the school leaders that new initiatives and reforms through

M.O.E can be passed to teachers and students. Lastly the findings on this study are important to teachers because it may make them to find a balance between their personal needs and professional needs. Students with committed teachers are likely to perform better and have a more positive attitude towards school than students with less committed teachers.

Scope of the Study
The study was mainly based on how head teacher’s leadership styles affect teacher commitment. Head teacher’s leadership styles include; authoritarian, democratic and laissez-faire. The study was restricted to public secondary schools in Makueni district.

Limitations of the study
Teachers’ commitment is also influenced by other factors outside the head teachers’ leadership styles. Such factors include teachers’ pay, support from parents, location of the school, type of the school, and category of the school. Such factors were not considered in this study and generalization of the findings is therefore based only on head teachers’ leadership styles.

Assumptions of the study
This study was based on two assumptions. i) the respondents gave honest responses. ii) leadership styles are practiced by the head teachers in most schools in Makueni Sub County. The three leadership styles are; democratic leadership style, autocratic leadership style and laissez-faire leaders

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 80 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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