The effectiveness of a school depends on its ability to change for the better. However, while effective change does not occur unless the Principal initiates the process, it is in the end the teacher who is “the single most important school-based factor that determines the change outcomes in the change process”. Indeed, “if teachers do not buy-in or put change into practice, school reform will be adopted superficially or even fail” (Mei Kein et alia, 2018).
For that reason, a team of researchers from Malaysia set out to study the influence of principals’ competencies on teachers beliefs and attitudes related to change. As they explain: “Since changes must ultimately be introduced by school principals and implemented by school teachers, examining the relationship between these three variables will certainly provide very practical insights into how best to lead change in schools.”
In their view, leadership is defined as “setting a direction and developing the strategies necessary to move in that direction, that is, creating and achieving a vision.” Clearly, thus, “inducing change, getting others to change and upholding change are the essence of leadership.”
To make it measurable, the team used the Principal Change Leadership Competencies (PCLC) Scale, which focuses on 4 factors:
Likewise, the team used 2 other surveys to assess teachers’ beliefs and attitudes: the Teacher Change Beliefs (TCB) Scale, which focuses on the three following domains:
and the Teacher Attitudes toward Change (TATC) Scale, which also contains 3 factors:
Results indicated that Principal competency (PCLC) was significantly related to teachers’ beliefs (TCB), which shaped teachers’ attitudes (TATC).
As the authors summarize, “simply put, principals who equip themselves with adequate… competencies for the different phases of school change—Goal Framing, Capacity Building, Defusing Resistance and Conflict and Institutionalizing—can certainly help improve teachers’ change-beliefs and attitudes through the three main aspects of Discrepancy, Efficacy and Principal Support.”
Source: Mei Kin, Abdull Kareem, Nordin, and Wai Bing (2018), “Principal change leadership competencies and teacher attitudes toward change: the mediating effects of teacher change beliefs.” International Journal of Leadership in Education, 21:4, pp. 427-446.