ACCEPTANCE OF LEADER RELATED TO LEADER STYLE AND TEACHER JOB ORIENTATION
Introduction and Purpose of the Study. Widely held assumptions about the teacher-supervisor hierarchical power structure may be simplistic. Teachers, along with many other occupational groups classified as "marginal professionals," have intensified their efforts to be acknowledged as full professionals. Supervisors may now be faced with a shrinking "zone of acceptance" of their influence as teachers shed their employee status and seek to exercise greater professional autonomy. The teachers' drive for professional status, and greater control over their work may have rendered obsolete traditional leadership styles undergirded by formal, legal authority. The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which a teacher's zone of acceptance of supervisor influence and, therefore, his/her willing cooperation with his/her supervisor, is influenced by the teacher's professional-employee job orientation status and by the teacher's perceptions of the supervisor's leadership style.;Procedure. Data for this study were collected by distributing four questionnaires to all tenured and unionized teachers of academic subjects in the five junior high schools in a New York City school district. These questionnaires consisted of the Ohio State Leadership Behavior Description Questionnaire, the Bureaucratic-Professional Job Status Orientation Scale, and the Professional Zone of Acceptance Inventory. A Personal Description Questionnaire was used to collect data concerning certain selected teacher and school characteristics. The final sample consisted of 140 teachers of academic subjects which represented 61% of these tenured, unionized teachers in the district.;Findings and Conclusions. Teachers with the widest zone of acceptance of supervisor influence perceived their supervisors to be high on both Consideration and Initiating Structure leadership dimensions; teachers with the narrowest zone of acceptance perceived their supervisors to be low on both Consideration and Initiating Structure leadership dimensions. Increases in either Initiating Structure or Consideration by the supervisor appeared to result in a wider teacher zone of acceptance of supervisor influence. This was contrary to the prediction that teachers, as emerging professionals, would be most responsive to high Consideration leadership while tending to reject supervisor influence in the presence of high Initiating Structure. It was concluded that teachers expect supervisor activity high in both leadership dimensions. This sets minimal standards which the teacher may use as a guide while exercising professional autonomy.;High teacher bureaucratic-employee job status orientation was systematically associated with a wide zone of acceptance of supervisor influence. A high professional job orientation, when coupled with a high bureaucratic-employee job orientation also resulted in a wide zone of acceptance of supervisor influence. These findings contradicted the prediction that a strong professional drive among teachers would tend to lessen acceptance of supervisor influence, However, teachers with a high professional job orientation tended to have the widest or narrowest zone of acceptance as a function of their bureaucratic-employee job status. It was concluded that supervisor influence is strongly accepted or rejected by high professional job oriented teachers as a function of how they see their professional needs met by the bureaucratic superstructure of the school.;These results seem to indicate supervisors may maintain or extend their leadership influence, despite growing teacher demands for professional autonomy, by employing a high Consideration, high Initiating Structure leadership style. Supervisors may also widen the zone of acceptance of their influence by recognizing teacher professional prerogatives in some educational activities. Teachers may then willingly cede legitimacy of influence in other areas to the supervisor.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 41-04, Section: A, page: 1306.