PRINCIPALS’ DECISION-MAKING STYLES ON STAFF MORALE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN ETINAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
INTRODUCTION1.1 Background of the Study
Educational goals achievement (EGA), at any level, depends on a number of factors. If the broad aims and objectives of secondary education, as contained in the National Policy on Education (1981), sections 17 and 18), must be achieved, these factors must be given adequate attention. One of such factors is the decision-making styles of the educational administrators or school principals.
One of the several activities that differentiate administrators from other employees in an organization is decision-making. It involves an individual’s thought, perception, attitude and focuses on the ability of the administrator to make the right choice among alternatives.
Fremont (1967) believes that decision making in broad sense involves much more than the final choice among possible courses action. Hanson (1979) asserts that since the concept of decision is defined as all judgments that affect a course of action, the concept of decision-making process is therefore construed to mean not only the decision but also the acts necessary to put the decision into operation and so actually affects the course of actions of an enterprise.
Again, the choice to be made should offer the highest possible solution to the problem in question. It has been observed that the question of choosing among alternatives is a difficult task. For instance, Mark (1978) writing on decision making, stated that in this process, thousands of phenomena are intricately balanced. Also Clough (1963) asserts that the decision making process involves not only the processes to be solved but also a number of conflicting objectives to be reconciled. Due to these difficulties, it is not very easy to assess a manager. However, there are key points in the organizational cycle on which the assessment could be based.
These points include; planning, organizing, direction, motivation, coordination and control stages. The stages from the basis of management and administration and form the components of a manager’s job. According to Allan (1958) each of these stages which he called elements involved in administration is interdependent and in fact a reciprocal of each of the other elements and that is only when a manager is planning, organizing, coordinating, motivating and controlling the work of others that he is said to be managing. The way managers go about their job, according to Allan admonition is interdependent and in fact a reciprocal of each of the other elements and that is only when a manger is planning, organizing, coordinating, motivating and controlling the work of others that he is said to be managing. The way managers go about their job differs from manager to manager. They therefore do not have uniform procedure of arriving at decisions. The model adopted by a manager is determined by his perception, experience, training, and nature of problems and the need of the organization Harrison (1975) agrees that the opinion of a manager regarding his own decision-making abilities are conditioned strongly by his perception of what satisfactory decisions. This brings about the classification of decision-making process.
Perception and experience may not be the only determining factors of an administrator’s choice of a model. Sometimes, he can be influenced by the critical background of his organization. For example, organizations designed according to the classical theory give their managers the prerogative of making organizational decision. In the social system theory, decisions are decentralized and every member of the organization can have a say in the decision-making process.
Relating this discussion to our schools system, we discovered that in the colonial era, most of the organizational plans were highly centralized. Decisions rested mainly at top level with the intermediate administrators and teachers being left with the little autonomy. Their main functions were to enforce rules, follow procedures and sue the established line of communication (Hanitton 1975). Recently, we have seen a swinging away from the highly centralized authority and regulatory function of administration toward decentralization of authority. It is now believed that educators at every level in the school system are necessarily decision makers. Their work calls for the exercise of judgment and use of discretion in every changing circumstance surrounding them. Three levels of decision making in the school system can be identified.
– The highest level: This level is concerned with organizational purposes and overall programme and personnel policies.
– Second level: This includes the decisions taken by the superintendent and his staff.
– Third level: This includes the decisions of the school head and his staff.
It is pertinent to note that principals and school heads have different backgrounds in administration. Up till now, some of them have not realized that administration in a sense is synonymous with decision making that the decision-making style of an organization is as important as the organization itself; and that the pattern of decision making exercise can influence the subordinates.
It is therefore, not surprising to see that some principals of schools are still highly centralized in their administration. According to Fegbemi (1980) such principals are not reality oriented, they seem conservative and have pro-conceived and permanent ideals about doing things, hence, they are control-oriented in nature. The acts of these principals affect the morale of the staff and students and invariably the tone of the school.
In some circumstances the principal may loose the confidence and cooperation of his staff student. Byrnes (1973) assets that without the cooperation from the staff, a manager can never meet his objectives and that, unless morale is high, he will be plagued by discussion, absenteeism and outright sabotage. In his own contribution Corbally (1961) emphasized that “the style adopted by the school authority in making school decisions affect the attitude, the social climate, morale, progress, cooperation and direction of efforts in the school”.
At this juncture, we have to take cognizance of the fact that a school head can achieve his objectives no matter the style, if he insists on enforcing cooperation. Some writers however, believe that decision making in school, quite unlike other organization is unique because of the human products. Campbell (1961) has this to say” the problem of human products of schools makes virtually everyone; example parents, tax payers, legislators and teachers, stakeholders in the school; thereby making the school governance incredibly intricate”. Campbell went on to asset that since the principal will have to take decisions affecting these mixture of human beings and since the primary concern of administration, is the development of effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction and morale, one expects that he should have clearly in his mind the essential characteristics of decision–making.
In Akwa Ibom State were this research work is being carried out, effort are being made by the Ministry of Education and State Secondary Education Board to enlighten the school heads on how best to run their schools. The researcher believes (not only in Akwa Ibom State but all over the Federation) that all hands should be on deck for us to achieve our educational objectives. This study, therefore, aims at investigating the decision making styles of secondary school principals in secondary schools in Etinan Local Government Area and the effect on the teachers morale, and how this affects the performance of their duty and attitude to academic work.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In any organization, decision making styles is a critical factor in the success of the organization. In the school system, the type decision made determines how school activities are carried out as well as the attainment of school objectives. Therefore, the style of a school decision-making must be well structured if the short comings of bad decision are to be avoided. The problem arising from a faulty decision technique can assume various shapes. For instance, the decision maker can loose face or hurt the subordinates feelings. In the school system, if the feelings of the teachers and students are hurt, it may lead to no-compliance of school decisions which could lead to the frustration of school goals.
In our school system today, we know that many decisions taken by various institutions have at one time or the other generated problems of unrest with sometimes the magnitude of a national strike. To avoid such problem, it is important that the school administrator must select the best approach to decision-making. He should, by the type of decision he makes, create a good working climate that will induce high morale and leads to high attainment of educational goals.
In view of these, the researcher intends to carry out an investigation on the effect of principals decision-making styles in secondary schools in Etinan on the morale of teachers in relation to the discharge of their duties.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to carry out a research on principals decision-making styles on the morals of teachers in our secondary schools.
Specifically, the study is aimed at:
1. Identifying the different decision-making styles used by secondary school principals and their effect on staff moral.
2. Determining the influence of principal autocratic decision making styles on teachers’ willingness to leave the teaching profession.
3. Determining the influence of principals democratic decision-making styles on teachers willingness to accept responsibilities.
4. Determining the influence of principals’ laissez-faire decision-making styles on teachers’ attitude to academic work.
1.4 Significance of the Study
Not many have researched on decision-making styles and teachers’ morale. Researchers have rather concentrated on leadership styles. Though the leadership style presupposes the type of decision-making, but it does not give the exact picture of how the decision is arrived at. Therefore, to say that the findings of this study will be of immense help to school administrators is no exaggeration.
It will help the school principals in particular to know how to make school decisions in order to improve their teachers’ morale. The improvement of teachers’ morale will have a concomitant effect of boasting their attitude to work and also reducing school conflict. This work will help other researchers.
1.5 Research Questions
The research questions below were formulated to direct the study
1. Is there any significant influence of the principals’ decision-making style on the teachers moral?
2. Does any significant exist between the decision-making styles of the school principals and the teachers’ willingness to accept responsibilities.
3. Does any significant influence exist between the democratic decision-making style of the schools principal and the staff willingness to leave the teaching profession?
4. Is there any significant influence between the laissez-faire decision-making styles of the secondary school principal and the attitude of teachers to academic work?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
1. There is no significant difference on the moral of teachers under the autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire principal.
2. There is no significant relationship of the principals’ autocratic decision-making styles on the teachers’ willingness to accept responsibilities.
3. There is no significant relationship of the principals’ democratic decision making styles on the teachers’ willingness to leave the teaching profession.
4. There is no significant relationship of the principal’s laissez-faire decision-making styles on the attitude of teachers to academic work.
1.7 Assumption of the Study
It is assumed that the principals’ decision-making styles will have a great influence on the teachers’ morals in secondary schools in Etinan Local Government Area.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
This work is delimited to secondary schools in Etinan Local Government Area.
The investigation is also delimited to those teachers that have stayed at least one year in their schools and to schools where principals have stayed up to two years. It is delimited to staff moral as it affects principals decision making style.
1.9 Limitation of the Study
The researcher faced the following problems while carrying out the study.
1. Teachers were reluctant to fill questionnaires. They saw the exercise as boring and not of help to them.
2. There were few writings and research works on decision making styles and teachers’ morale. This made the literature review an up-hill task.
1.10 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms have been defined
1. Decision-making styles: This is defined as the pattern or style of decision-making. It stems from an administrator’s leadership style or his administrative inclination.
2. Staff Morale: For the purpose of this study, staff morale is taken to be teachers’ morale which is defined as the predisposition of the teacher to put forth extra effort in achieving school objectives. It shows the extent to which teachers are satisfied with job by displaying positive attitude and commitment towards their job.
3. Teachers’ Attitude to work: This refers to their behaviours, feelings and predispositions towards school activities