26 SES 16 A, Exploring Educational Leadership in Schools and other Institutions
Since the beginning of the 21st Century the expansion of German all-day schools has been promoted extensively, not least because of the disappointing results of international student assessments (cf. Holtappels, 2013). The German school system has recently been coined by several procedural and developmental changes, which are complemented by an increasing degree of autonomy of the individual schools (cf. Rürup, 2007). These changes and the accompanying effects they have on teachers have not yet been subject to many studies (cf. Terhart, 2013).
The autonomisation processes led to increasing interest in business science concepts being applied in the field of school development research. A main emphasis lies in the commitment of teachers (cf. Canrinus, Helms-Lorenz, Beijaard, Buitink & Hofman, 2012; Razak et al. 2010). This construct is regarded as a decisive factor in improving performance (cf. Day, 2008). While Mayer and Allen (1991) differentiate three sub-aspects of commitment (normative, continuation-related and affective), the conceptual focus of this work lies within the affective commitment, as the others have almost no relevance for the school sector (cf. Blutner, 2004, Rolff, 2012).
Affective commitment describes a personal and emotional bond between an individual and an organisation (cf. van Dick, 2017), which have a beneficial effect on the performance and motivation of teachers (cf. Gautam, Van Dick & Wagner, 2004). The construct becomes one of the decisive variables regarding participation, acceptance and internalisation of school development processes and their results.
In the field of business studies, leadership skills and the working atmosphere are mainly mentioned as conducive for a high commitment (cf. Felfe & Six, 2006). With the autonomisation of individual schools increasing, school administrators are taking on the role of managers in the sense of labour science. According to Leithwood, Harris and Hopkins (2008) “leadership acts as a catalyst without which other good things are quite unlikely to happen” (Leithwood et al., 2008, p.2). In academic discourse, the concept of transformational leadership is discussed in this regard (see Burns, 1978). These school leaders know how to bring together the entire teaching staff in a motivating manner and how to respond to the needs of their individual employees to emphasize and be appreciative of their performance (cf. Schmerbauch, 2017; Leithwood et al., 2008).
The working atmosphere refers to the actions of the individuals who are “involved in school significantly and the interaction with others, as well as the normative, culturally-theoretically framed determination of these actions and interactions through shared values, (unwritten) rules etc.” (Fuchs, 2009, p.371, translated). To integrate all relevant actors into the calculations, the interaction between teachers (collegial cohesion), the relationship with pupils, the relationship with parents and other staff members (school climate) were considered. Furthermore, the person-specific variables on job satisfaction, stress and self-efficacy were included. As Felfe and Six (2005) or Jäger (2012) point out, the evaluations of current work situations have a relevant influence on the emotional bond to the school, represented as commitment.
In addition to uncovering the development of teachers' commitment, a research interest lies in the investigation of possible group differences. The sample can be differentiated between teachers who actively participate in all-day and those who do not. The hypothesis is that these groupings differ regarding the definition of the organisation school. For example, the relationship with the pupils could play a greater role for teachers in all-day schools, as they interact with the pupils in a different way. Enthusiasm for all-day schools was integrated as a topic matching variable.
Even if this is a special case of the German school system, the findings could be used to draw conclusions for other groupings.
The basis for the following analysis consists of data from the longitudinal study ‘StEG-P’ (Study on the development of all-day schools – substudy P), which was collected at four different measuring points throughout the years of 2012 and 2015. All schools included in this study were German all-day primary schools. Thus, all reported results are solely valid for all-day school teaching staff. To ensure the causality of the effects on the commitment of teachers, only this construct was collected at the fourth measurement point. The data for all other variables was accumulated at the second measurement point. The first and third measurement data was not considered for the analyses since not all relevant variables were recorded at this time. Overall, data from 840 teachers was collected. As the survey took place exclusively in primary schools, a typical unequal gender ratio is apparent, with about 80% of the respondents being female. The average age in this sample is 41 years. Furthermore, the subjects can be differentiated according to their active participation in all-day activities: 288 are actively involved in all-day activities, 361 are not. Since the resulting groups are part of the planned analyses, the N of the calculations is 649. The fundamental goal of the analyses, explaining teachers’ commitment, is to place this construct in a far-reaching causal context. In addition, there is a great deal of research interest in distinguishing teachers who are actively involved in all-day school activities and their counterparts. This is pursued in the calculations. For this purpose, a grouped structural equation model was computed, which outputs group-specific regression coefficients for the variables used. For the realisation, the statistics programme R and the implemented package Lavaan from Rosseel (2012) were used. Since certain groups of teachers can be classified according to their school affiliation, a complex sample was declared in the calculations, so robust standard errors were estimated. All relevant constructs were modelled latently. School leadership competence was originally mapped in the StEG scale manual in the form of two individual factors – moderation and participation competence and management competence. Due to their high correlation, a general factor – leadership competence of school management – was used in the course of this model. All reported effects are standardized values. Missing values were estimated using FIML (Full Information Maximum Likelihood), resulting in a total group-specific number of subjects of 361 (no all-day involvement) and 288 (all-day involvement).
Conspicuous differences between the two groupings can be seen in the enthusiasm for all-day schools, student/teacher relations and collegial cohesion and their effect on teacher commitment. While the first two characteristics have a decisive influence on commitment for the group of teachers who actively participate in the all-day programme, the opposite picture can be diagnosed regarding collegial cohesion. Overall, a high degree of variance explanation can be generated for both groups regarding the interesting characteristic of teacher commitment (R² = .529/.570). A further group distinction, which is not directly related to the commitment of the teachers, was revealed about influence of the school climate on the teachers’ stress. Thus, there is a significant negative effect for the group of teachers with all-day participation only. Similarly, for both groups, job satisfaction and the leadership competence of the school management were identified as relevant factors regarding the commitment of teachers. Within the model the general factor, leadership competence of the school management, functions as a nodal point, which in turn generates a lot of additional influence on commitment through indirect effects. Thus, all other constructs that have a direct influence on commitment are favoured by the leadership competence of the management, thus, act as moderators for the latter. Therefore, the leadership competence of the management has a positive effect on collegial cohesion, job satisfaction, the student-teacher relationship, enthusiasm for all-day schools and the school climate. The school climate significantly supports enthusiasm for all-day schools and self-efficacy of teachers. However, this construct only reduces stress in the second group of subjects. The numerous empirically and theoretically validated dependence of stress from self-efficacy can also be confirmed in the context of these analyses. Both aspects have an effect on job satisfaction, while job satisfaction is also positively influenced by collegial cohesion.
Blutner, D. (2004). Führungskompetenz im Mitgliedschaftsdilemma. In Organisationstheorie in pädagogischen Feldern (pp. 142-158). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Burns, J. M. G. (1978). Leadership. Harper & Row, New York. Canrinus, E. T., Helms-Lorenz, M., Beijaard, D., Buitink, J., & Hofman, A. (2012). Self-efficacy, job satisfaction, motivation and commitment: Exploring the relationships between indicators of teachers’ professional identity. European journal of psychology of education, 27(1), 115-132. Day, C. (2008). Committed for life? Variations in teachers' work, lives and effectiveness. Journal of Educational Change, 9, 243– 260. Felfe, J., & Six, B. (2006). Die Relation von Arbeitszufriedenheit und Commitment (pp. 37-60). na. Gautam, T., Van Dick, R., & Wagner, U. (2004). Organizational identification and organizational commitment: Distinct aspects of two related concepts. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 7(3), 301-315. Holtappels, H.G. (2013). Innovation in Schulen–Theorieansätze und Forschungsbefunde zur Schulentwicklung. In Innovationen im Bildungswesen (pp. 45-69). Springer VS, Wiesbaden. Leithwood, K., Harris, A., & Hopkins, D. (2008). Seven strong claims about successful school leadership. School leadership and management, 28(1), 27-42. Meyer, J. P., & Allen, N. J. (1991). A three-component conceptualization of organizational commitment. Human resource management review, 1(1), 61-89. Razak, A. N., Darmawan, I. G. N., & Keeves, J. P. (2010). The influence of culture on teacher commitment. Social Psychology of Education, 13(2), 185-205. Rolff, H. G. (2012). Schule als soziale Organisation–Zur Duplexstruktur schulpädagogischen Handelns. In Handbuch Bildungs-und Erziehungssoziologie (pp. 1001-1016). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden. Rosseel Y (2012). “lavaan: An R Package for Structural Equation Modeling.” Journal of Statistical Software, 48(2), 1–36. Rürup, M. (2007). Innovationswege im deutschen Bildungssystem. Springer Fachmedien. Schmerbauch, A. (2017). Schulleitung und Schulsteuerung. Springer Fachmedien, Wiesbaden. Terhart, E. (2013). Widerstand von Lehrkräften in Schulreformprozessen: Zwischen Kooperation und Obstruktion. Empirische Bildungsforschung. Theorien, Methoden, Befunde und Perspektiven, 75-92. Van Dick, R. (2017). Identifikation und Commitment fördern (Vol. 5). Hogrefe Verlag.
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