Date of Award

Fall 12-2008

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and Research

Committee Chair

Ronald Styron

Committee Member 2

James T. Johnson

Committee Member 3

David E. Lee

Committee Member 4

Maria Guilott


Educators world wide are shaping the future by the quality of education that they provide to the youth of today. Today's future relies on the impact teachers make on their students. Society, social security, and economic development are all dependent on future generations. Teachers are molding those future generations. It is no secret that if a teacher is motivated to do his/her best at enhancing education, that students have a better chance at being successful. Furthermore, if principals are exhibiting behaviors that improve teacher motivation, the result is not only an increase in student achievement, but a more successful school overall. If all this is true, the amount of energy put into research for student achievement, teacher motivation, and school leadership should always strive. It is widely known that motivation is vital to any organization, especially schools. According to MCREL, significant, positive correlations between student achievement and effective school leadership do, if fact, exist (Waters, Marzano, McNulty, 2004). This study set out to determine if there were significant relationships between the principal's leadership style and teacher motivation. A sample of 202 teachers was the subject of this study. The teachers were chosen from 9 schools that responded to a request to participate through the Harvard List Serve.

The survey measured the relationship of the principal's leadership score and the teacher's current level of motivation. Data was observed using a correlation analysis. Two of the three hypotheses were accepted in this study. There was a statistically significant relationship between the principal's autocratic leadership score and teacher motivation, and there was a statistically significant relationship between the principal's democratic leadership score and teacher motivation. The democratic score yielded a high positive correlation, therefore, the higher the democratic score, the higher the teacher motivation. The autocratic score yielded a significant negative correlation, thus, the higher the autocratic score, the lower the teacher motivation. There was no statistical significance between the principal's laissez-faire leadership score and the teacher's level of motivation.

This study found that there are certain principal behaviors, as perceived by teachers that do impact teacher motivation. The outcomes of the hypotheses of this study indicate that teachers tend to be more highly motivated by principals that demonstrate democratic characteristics of leadership, and less motivated by principals that demonstrate authoritative characteristics of leadership. Results from the respondents of this study reinforce the belief that teachers are more motivated when they have a direction connection and involvement in decision making, and when leaders their leaders value team work.