S. Hussin, Z. Waheed

University of Malaya (MALAYSIA)
School leadership works as an instrument or catalyst to initiate and facilitate the process of school transformation. It directly or indirectly influences almost all factors that affect school transformation. It influences students’ academic, social, emotional, cultural, and moral well-being as well as the performance, commitment, citizenship behavior, innovativeness, and instructional practices of teachers. Effective leadership is always multidimensional and complex. Leaders in successfully transformed schools demonstrate multiple and distinct leadership behaviors in order to influence different aspects of school life. They encompass the ability to be task-oriented, change-oriented, relation-oriented, and ethical-oriented leaders.

The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it intends to portray how the four dimensions of leadership behavior collectively give a better and comprehensive elucidation for understanding school leadership. Second, it aims to justify how these four dimensions of leadership behavior can be integrated together to facilitate school transformation process. This paper analytically reviews research and writings on school leadership behavior and proposes a conceptual model applicable and appropriate to explain leadership in the context of school transformation. The proposed model extends the tri-dimensional leadership behavior theory by incorporating ethical-oriented leadership behavior in it. In addition, the conceptual model is supported through review of literature for its applicability in schools.

From the review, it is found that the current literature on leadership behavior is quite baffling. Different behavior dimensions explained by different researchers are sometimes overlapping and sometimes contrasting to each other on the same concepts and acts or their consequences. Moreover, the current literature on leadership behavior in school context is mainly related to transformational, transactional, and instructional leadership behaviors. Despite that, some researchers have criticized and found theoretical and empirical weaknesses in those leadership behaviors due to the intervening effects of factors such as culture, personality, organization structure, and government policy. Conversely, task-oriented, relation-oriented, change-oriented behaviors, and ethical-oriented leadership behaviors are observable leadership behaviors. These behavior dimensions are not just a group of distinct behaviors, but they also give a better platform to compare and contrast studies by different researchers. The behavior constructs included in them are clear and distant. These leadership behaviors cover almost all behaviors proposed in instructional, transformational, ethical, moral, distributed, and transactional leadership models.