Examining The Impact Of Leadership Styles On Teacher Motivation And Teacher Turnover Intentions

Theodora Ifeyiuche Chukwukelu FINAL thesis

Teacher motivation and retention are critical factors in determining the quality of education in Nigerian secondary schools. Unfortunately, these issues persist and continue to undermine the development of the educational sector in the country.  Even though some level of teacher turnover is beneficial and unavoidable, excessive, and frequent turnover can be detrimental to the overall performance of a school. When a substantial percentage of teachers leave in quick succession, it disrupts the school’s operations and creates a chaotic learning environment for students. This not only affects their academic progress but also their emotional well-being. Moreover, poor teacher motivation directly translates to poor productivity. Teachers who are demotivated are unlikely to invest the required energy or enthusiasm needed to provide quality education to their students. Consequently, schools with low teacher motivation are likely to experience a decline in their educational standards.

This mixed-methods study delves into the impact of leadership styles on teacher motivation, and teacher turnover intentions in secondary schools, and offers insights that are useful to educators and policymakers alike.  Using two well-known theories – the Self-Determination Theory and the Transformational Leadership Theory – the study sheds light on how school principals’ leadership behaviours affect the motivation of teachers and teachers’ inclination to leave their teaching jobs.  It also highlights the impact of teacher motivation on the link between teachers’ intention to leave their jobs and leadership styles.  In this research investigation, qualitative data was gathered from 23 teachers through semi-structured interviews while quantitative data was obtained from a sample of 472 teachers through a self-report questionnaire. The study focused on educators in government-owned (public) secondary schools situated in Lagos State, Nigeria.

The research results disclosed that the adoption of a transformational leadership style in schools enhances teacher motivation and reduces turnover intentions. Conversely, the transactional leadership style exerts an opposing influence. Furthermore, it was observed that the connection between turnover intentions and leadership styles is not moderated by teacher motivation. Instead, leadership styles influence teacher motivation, which in turn affects teacher turnover decisions.

The research has significant implications for the Nigerian educational system, calling for urgent action to train secondary school leaders to use transformational leadership styles and for principals to increase their support for teachers regarding autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Moreover, the study highlights the need for better compensation for teachers, aligning their salaries with inflation rates and the standards of other professions.

This study’s recommendations for further research highlight the need to incorporate school principals’ perspectives in similar studies and the need to investigate the distinctive impact of each element of transformational leadership on teachers’ basic psychological needs.

Item Type: 
Doctoral thesis
Unicaf University - Zambia
Depositing User: 
Theodora Ifeyiuche Chukwukelu
Date Deposited: 
11 June 2024 15:23