Influence of principals’ leadership styles on students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Awendo sub-county, Kenya

Millicent Oyugi and Julius O. Gogo

African Educational Research Journal
Published: January 31 2019
Volume 7, Issue 1
Pages 22-28


Studies conducted in USA, Dubai, South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, central region of Kenya and some part of Nyanza region have revealed that principals’ leadership styles influence performance in schools. Leadership style was found to contribute 32.8% to the students’ performance in Kinangop. However, there was no information about the influence principals’ leadership style has had on the students’ academic performance. Awendo sub-county performed below average with a mean of 4.9 for the period 2012 to 2016 yet in the same region Uriri sub-county had a mean of 6.5 and Rongo sub-county 5.8. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to establish the influence of the principals’ leadership styles on secondary students’ academic performance in Awendo sub-county. The objectives of the study were to: determine the influence of principals’ democratic leadership style on students’ performance; establish the influence of principals’ autocratic leadership style on the students’ performance; and to establish the influence of principals’ laissez faire leadership styles on students’ academic performance. A conceptual framework was used to show the interplay regarding the independent variable, which is leadership styles and that of the dependent variable, which is students’ academic performance. The research employed descriptive survey and correlational designs to obtain information. The study population consisted of 35 principals, 340 teachers and 1400 form four students of 2015. Saturated sampling method was used to obtain 30 principals as the remaining 5 were used for piloting. Simple random sampling was used to sample 186 teachers and 301 students from the 30 sampled schools. Data was collected using questionnaire, interview schedules, document analysis and focus group discussions. Face and content validity of the instruments were determined by experts in educational administration. The reliability was tested using test-retest method and a Pearson’s r of 0.86 for Principals’ questionnaire obtained. Quantitative data was analyzed using frequency count, mean, percentage, correlation and simple linear regression. Qualitative data was transcribed, analyzed and used for triangulation. Leadership styles were measured using a rating scale adopted from Donclark Questionnaire Model for attributes of democratic, autocratic and laissez faire styles whilst students’ performance was measured by the school mean score. The study established that democratic leadership accounted for 37.4% of variation in students’ academic performance as signified by adjusted R square 0.374. Autocratic leadership accounted for 43.8% of variation in students’ academic performance and Laissez faire leadership style accounted for 15.7% of variation in students’ academic performance. Principals are encouraged to balance the use both democratic and autocratic styles but avoid Laissez faire style. The study is significant to stakeholders in education in assisting principals to practice leadership styles that would enhance students’ academic performance in secondary schools.

Keywords: Leadership style, principal, academic performance, secondary education.

Full Text PDF

This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0