Principals' leadership and teachers' motivation

Ori Eyal (School of Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel)
Guy Roth (Department of Education, Ben‐Gurion University of the Negev, Be'er‐Sheva, Israel)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Publication date: 10 May 2011



The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between educational leadership and teacher's motivation. The research described here was anchored in the convergence of two fundamental theories of leadership and motivation: the full range model of leadership and self‐determination theory. The central hypotheses were that transformational leadership would predict autonomous motivation among teachers, whereas transactional leadership would predict controlled motivation. The authors further predicted that autonomous motivation would mediate the relations between transformational leadership and teachers' burnout and that controlled motivation would mediate the relations between transactional leadership and burnout.


Questionnaires assessing the variables of interest were completed by 122 Israeli teachers.


Results, based on structure equation modeling, supported the hypotheses, suggesting that leadership styles among school principals play a significant role in teachers' motivation and well‐being.

Research limitations/implications

The school's environment in Western society is characterized by many impositions and pressures that affect teachers' well‐being, as reflected in their quality and intensity of motivation, affect, and burnout. Thus, the present research findings suggest that if the power in educational systems is delegated to school principals, and if the latter are encouraged and trained to be autonomy supportive toward their educational staff, then these steps may potentially facilitate teachers' autonomous motivation, satisfaction, and well‐being.


Few studies have examined the relationship between various styles of leadership and different types of motivation among followers. The present novel study has the potential to fill this gap by empirically studying the relationship between educational leadership and teachers' motivation.



Eyal, O. and Roth, G. (2011), "Principals' leadership and teachers' motivation", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 49 No. 3, pp. 256-275.

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