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An investigation of the leadership styles adopted by secondary school principals and their influence on educator personnel in the Pinetown District.

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The aim of the study was to analyse the leadership styles adopted by secondary school principals at selected schools in the Pinetown District. The objectives of the study were to understand leadership styles of principals which are preferred by educators; determine how the leadership styles adopted by principals’ influence educators’ job satisfaction; and establish educators’ perceptions of the relationship between leadership style and learners’ performance. This study analysed various documents and also used the descriptive-interpretive research paradigm within the context of qualitative research in order to address the research questions. The measuring instruments of this study comprised of a semi-structured interview schedule with open-ended questions, on the basis of the detailed literature review. The interviews were conducted by the researcher with six participants (sample), identified through purposive (suitability) sampling. The sample comprised six educators from three schools with a minimum of approximately fifteen years teaching experience. This study employed a thematic analysis of the obtained data. Findings of the study revealed that school principals in the Pinetown District adopted the following leadership styles: laissez-faire, democratic, transformational, transactional, situational, instructional, shared, and autocratic leadership styles. However, the research participants admitted that the above-mentioned leadership styles do have practical differences. In relation to the transactional leadership style, it was found that principals encourage educators to work extra hard so as to meet set targets. On the basis of the findings of this study and the review of the literature, a number of recommendations have been advanced so as to improve the leadership at a secondary school level. The Department of Basic Education must review the kind of training which principals receive, especially, principals who work at formerly disadvantaged or rural schools. The rationale here is about creating a quality culture of teaching and learning in schools where the leadership is dominated by a defective laissez-faire leadership style. Further, school principals as leaders of secondary schools should integrate all the tenets of the governance theory into all the leadership styles, which are used in schools.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.