PRINCIPAL LEADERSHIP AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT:
The conducted study examined democratic/autocratic principal leadership styles for association with student achievement. To provide context to the performed research, this paper presents a review of the student achievement-principal leadership style literature. The review examines the literature in two broad categories: (1) research directly related to the autocratic/democratic dimensions of principal leadership style; and (2) research relevant to other dimensions of principal leadership style. The review ends with a series of conclusions about leadership style and student achievement formulated on the basis of the reviewed literature.
Democratic/Autocratic Leadership Style and Student Achievement
Is student achievement influenced by principals' leadership style and, if so, are there differences in student achievement depending upon whether the principal is autocratic or democratic in style? While there has not been a lot of good empirical research on this topic, there are some studies that suggest that the democratic style may have a better effect on student achievement than the autocratic style.
For example, Etheridge and Hall (1995), in their evaluation of seven Memphis City schools implementing school-based decision making, evaluated a variety of diverse outcomes of the programs over a seven year period. Data collection methods included participant observation, interviews, administration of The Tennessee School Climate Inventory to teachers and administrators, process analysis, school reports, and student-achievement test scores. With respect to their findings for the leadership variable, it was found that democratic leadership was the only leadership style related to sustained increased student achievement for at least three years.
However, in terms of maintaining increases in student achievement, the authors found that other variables are critical. Specifica...