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Background of the Study

Nigeria as a nation is faced with the challenges of a developing nation which are; domestic and external constraints to growth among which include; lack of employment generation, policy implementation and lack of follow-up of the policy among others. To confront

these challenges of the 21st century, the Nigerian government under former president Goodluck Jonathan came up with the Transformational Agenda, which is geared towards bringing Nigeria to the league of world’s 20 leading economies by the year 2020. One of the focuses of the Transformational Agenda is investing in human resources to transform the Nigerian people into active agents for growth and national development. Human resources are one of the resources utilized in achieving the goals and objectives of an organization. Human resources are the workers, in an organization. Hence as educational organizations are critical to the success of any national agenda, (Balarabe 2012), their human resources really need to be influenced and directed towards its strategic objectives. This could be attained through an effective leadership that is proactive, encourages followers to do what is required to help them attain unexpected goals. This influence could be achieved through transformational leadership style.

Leadership is the central process of an organization. Oboegbulem and Onwurah (2011) defined leadership as a process of influencing, directing, acquiring normative personal characteristics and power, and coordinating group activities to make individuals in an organization strive willingly towards the attainment of organizational goals. Ade (2003) defined leadership as a social influence process in which the leader seeks the voluntary participation of subordinate in an effort to reach organizational objectives. Hoy and Miskel (2013) noted that



leadership is a social process in which an individual or a group influences behaviour towards, a shared goal. Ibukun (2008) remarked that without leadership, an organization can best be described as a scene of confusion and chaos. This means that a good organizational structure alone may not solve the problem of school organization or any educational enterprise as whole. This is why Nwankwo (2007), argues that good organizational structure requires effective leadership to achieve set objectives. Leadership influences, coordinates, energizes and directs the subordinates to achieve set objectives among others. It is a social process, which seeks ways to use the subordinates to achieve the organizational objectives. When leadership is in action, the leader succeeds in using the subordinates under him/her to achieve the organizational objectives

For the purpose of this study, leadership can therefore be defined as a social process, used to influence the behaviour of subordinates in order to achieve the objectives of an organization. Leadership visualizes what needs to be achieved, and goes all the way choosing appropriate activities, skills as the case may be to achieve them. By implication, the leader persuades, influences and co-ordinates the members in the group, so that they can willingly strive with maximum energy to discharge their allocated duties and responsibilities for high level of productivity in the organization.

Leadership theories can be featured generally as being concerned with who leads (i.e. characteristics of leaders) how they lead (i.e., leader behaviours) under what circumstances they lead (i.e., situational theories, contingency theories), or who follows the leader (i.e. relational theories) Cleveland, Stockdale and Murphy,2000). Examples of all four approaches to leadership are trait approaches which is a conventional vision that great leaders possess special, traits that distinguish them from other people, behavioural approaches; which focuses on what leaders do rather than what traits they possess, contingency theories; which contend that there is not one


best way of leadership and that one leadership style which is effective in some situations may not be successful in others, situational theories; which try to explain leaders, style, behavior, or effectiveness by understanding how aspects of the situation shape leaders’ behaviours and relation based approach; which are the more recent development of leadership theories. The present situation seems to move away from traits, behaviours, and situational characteristics that determine leadership; instead, according to Xiaoxia Xiaoxia and Jing 2006, there is recent focus on the relationship between leaders and followers. In other words, the theories are based on social exchange theory, which states that both the leader and the followers commit to working together (i.e., the followers are willing to be led and the leader is wiling to provide direction and support, as long as members find the relationship mutually satisfying (Cleveland, Stockdale and Murphy, 2000).

Therefore, a simple and single approach, based on traits, behaviours, situation, contingency is insufficient for understanding all the attributes leaders must posses and all the strategies they must adopt in order to thrive. There are then two influential modern approaches to leadership, which are relational-based. They are transformational and transactional leadership. Transformational leadership is all about leadership that creates positive change in the followers whereby they take care of each other’s interests and act in the interest of the group as a whole (Warrilow, 2012). Robbins and Coulter, (2007) noted that a transformational leader is a person who stimulates and inspires (transform) followers to achieve extraordinary outcome. The leader recognizes and exploits an existing need or demand of a potential follower and looks for potential motive in followers, seek to satisfy higher needs and to engage the full person of the follower.


Transformational leadership style has four basic leadership characteristics (Bass & Riggio 2004). These include; idealized influence, which is the behaviour of the leader that reflects the charisma of the leader and the pride and respect, faith and admiration that the leader instills in the followers. Inspirational motivation, which is emphasized in the leadership behaviour where the leader articulates a clear appealing and inspiring vision for the followers. Intellectual simulation, which is that leadership behaviour where the leader solicits new and novel approaches for the performances of tasks and creative solutions from followers for problem solving, and lastly, Individualized consideration, which emphasizes leaders’ respect for each follower as a person and gives special concern to their growth, support and developmental needs.

In contrast, according to Leithwood (1992), transactional leadership is based on an exchange of services (from a teacher, for example) for various kinds of rewards (recognition, extrinsic and intrinsic reward), that a leader controls at least in part. It is a monitoring leadership based on rewards and compliance. The focus is on maintaining efficient management and complying with organizational rules and polices (Avolio and Bass 2004). Leaders who maintain tight logistical control by emphasizing compliance with rules and procedures, by checking on the progress and quality of work and by evaluating the performance of individuals and of the organizational unit would rate high for monitoring behavior (Spreittzer, De Janasz and Quinn, 1999) thus, subordinates of transactional leaders are not necessarily expected to think innovatively (Eyal and Kark, 2004) and may be monitored on the basis of predetermined criteria. Transformational leadership is a collective action generated by transforming leadership, which empowers those who participate in the process. In essence, transformational leadership is a leadership style that facilitates the redefinition of a people’s mission and vision, a renewal of


their commitment, and the restructuring of their systems for goal accomplishment. The leader is expected to promote the articulation and sharing of a vision as well as fostering group goals. The integral part of the transforming process according to Leithwood (1999), consist of the following terms; collective, empowerment and trust, participation, optimism, vision and commitment. For the purpose of this study, translational leadership is the activities of the school principal to build an innovative, creative vision, effective situation in a school environment, where the teachers could have the opportunities to exercise their abilities to a very high level.

The study sought to find out other leadership styles of public secondary school principals in South East Nigeria because, Avolio and Bass (2004) developed the “full range of leadership” model which comprises the three styles of leadership: transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership. The researchers noted that laissez-faire leadership is a”hands off” style in which the person in charge “abdicates responsibility, del ays decisions, gives no feedback, and makes little effort to help followers satisfy their needs”. Laissez-faire leaders permit followers to direct themselves. The full range leadership was reviewed in this study to find out the extent principals adopt each of them in the study area. This study is focused on transformational leadership because it is more fully developed than the other leaderships and it receive more attention than the others. It has positive relationship towards the followers, while transactional leadership is after eliciting an immediate action from the follower’s laissez-faire leadership make little effort to help the followers, but transformational leadership is formative and can lead members to new horizons, it is enthusiastic about the future of the organization (school) encourages learning through mentoring, the leader is a role (Dinham, 2005) model who can be emulated by others, and develops relationship rooted in integrity and respect. Moreover, Lunenburg and Ornstein (2012) observed that transformational leadership style creates an environment were people


(human resources) strive to do their best, were opportunities are equally distributed, where

initiatives  are  encouraged  and  conditions  for  development  of  human  resources  to  succeed


Human resources consist of all employees; both workers and manager of an organization.

Out (2010, 23) stated that:

Human resources are people who work in organizations, endowed with range of ability, talents and attitudes, influence productivity, quality and profitability. It is the people in organization who set overall strategies and goal, design work systems, produce goods and services, monitor quality, allocate financial resources, and market the products and services. Individuals therefore become human resources by virtue of the roles they assume in an organization. Employment roles are defined and described in a manner designed to maximize particular employees` contributions to achieving organizational objectives.

Similarly, Ekala (2006) stated that without people, organizational goals and objectives may not

be  achieved.  It  therefore  implies  that  it  is  with  the  human  resources  that  the  goals  of  an

organization  are   realized.   The   policies,   programmes,   projects   among   others   can   only    be

hopefully accomplished with effective use of the human resources who are the people working in

the organization. Accordingly, scholar and Werner (2009), stated that human resources are assets

that need to be managed conscientiously and in tune with the organization’s needs. Education as

a system with its numerous programmes depends to a considerable extent on the availability and

utilization of skilled manpower who are the human resources to achieve stated objectives. It is

these  human  resources  in  the  education  system  that  could  be  utilized  to  take  care  of  the

programmes, projects, procedures, among others, in the system.

For the purpose of this study, human resources refer to the teachers of a school because

according to Out (2010), every educational system at every level depends heavily on teachers for

the execution of its programmes. So maintaining and improving educational standards is only


possible through teachers. Teachers therefore are the most indispensable entity in the school. They are the greatest asset to teaching and learning. Thus as far as possible, they should be thoroughly trained and supported in their work. Teachers are the implementers of all the educational objectives, and by this, Mkpa (2001) stated that the teacher is the heart and soul of the educational enterprise, indeed the life wire of the school system. In the same light, Aduke (2007) defined the teacher as an individual that nurtures, moulds and forms human beings to become useful members of the society. Moreover, according to Uvah (2005) in any educational system, what the teacher knows and what he/she does not know and cannot do can be a serious problem, hence, education is therefore not possible without quality teachers.

It is however pertinent to point out that the extent to which human resources contribute effectively towards the attainment of the goals of a school depends largely on how well they are managed, and the general managerial ability of the school leader. Management is the coordination and integration of human and material resources to achieve stated objectives. According to Osuala and Okeke (2006), management is the process of planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling activities and personnel within an organization, in order that its objectives may be accomplished. Management is also referred to as the process of getting things done with and through the efforts of others. School leaders are therefore most likely to be judged not on their own performances alone, but also on the results achieved by their subordinates, which mostly count for their effectiveness. Management in this study is therefore the effective coordination, directing, planning organizing among others of the activities of the teachers by the school leader to achieve innovatively the set school goals.

Reasoning from the above, the essence of the human factor in organizations then results in a mechanism designed to ensure that the well being of the human resources is assured and


maintained. This technique Oboegbulam (2011) described as human resource management, which its focus is to maximize return on investment from the organization’s human resources. Human resource management therefore encompasses those activities designed to provide for and coordinate the human resources of an organization. Byars and Rue (2011) opined that human resource management is the creation of an environment where people strive to do their best, where opportunities are equally distributed, where initiatives are encouraged and the conditions for success are created. Human resource management is basically responsible for galvanizing, harnessing and harmonization of the operations of an organization for effective and efficient performance of its tasks through positive behaviour modification of employees.

The major problems militating against the achievement of schools’ objectives, according to Nnadozie (2007) is poor condition of service which has negatively affected the management of human resources in secondary schools in South east Nigeria. Okorie (2008) also noted that the school management is expected to examine the state of affair of the management of human resources in relation to staff recruitment, welfare, appraisal, development, in-service training and discipline with a view to improving them. Similary Obi (2004) noted that human resource management in the school encompasses those activities which must take into consideration the recruitment, development, security, compensation, motivation and the general satisfaction of all employees in the school system. In this study, human resource management means all those activities geared towards creating conducive environment for teachers to perform their duties actively, creatively, innovatively and having regard for the wellbeing of the teachers to enable them make their best contributions to the success of the school. The following human resource activities will be considered in this study: staff development, staff motivation and staff discipline.


It is necessary that in every profession the practitioner must always be on continuous training and development in order to be relevant in the profession. Uyanga (2008) defined staff development as the process that focuses on the professional growth of teachers. Becta (2004) defined staff development as the process by which teachers acquire and develop the skills and technical know-how to become effective in the classroom. Uyanga (2008) further noted that the role of the school principal is to identify areas of needs and to facilitate the maximum teacher participation in self development. Based on a principal’s training and experience, a professional principal is in a better position to identify current educational problems, information and the demands of the society. Implicit to the above, Garuba (2004) observed that there appears to be paucity of information on staff development needs in public secondary school teachers in Nigeria. This implies that teaching profession requires adequate information on current issues in staff development, and this information appears not to be within the reach of the teachers, hence it is very necessary that their development needs be identified. In this study then, staff development programme is concerned with continuous activities and professional training process through which teachers’ knowledge, competence and understanding are improved to allow more effective performance in the school system.

Experts widely agree that motivation is a critical determinant of performance in organizations and firmly believe in its importance for organizational effectiveness. Lunenburg and Ornstein (2012) defined motivation as those processes within an individual that stimulate behaviour and channel it in ways that should benefit the organization as a whole. Motivation then means three things: getting the person to work hard, getting the person to keep at his/her work, and getting the person to direct his/her behaviour towards appropriate goals. Oboegbulam (2013) opined that motivation could be described as inducement, incentive, inspiration and


encouragement in order to incite an individual to action. The author further explained that with motivation, there is maintenance of staff morale, reduction of friction and dissatisfaction among staff in school. There is then general good relationship between the principal and the staff tutorial and non-tutorial and students in general.

Staff discipline is another essential component of human resource management. Nwangwu (2007) stated that staff discipline involves such traits as self sacrifice, diligence, cooperation, integrity, truthfulness, patriotism, consideration for others and empathy in an organization such as a school. Therefore teachers are expected to strive to be aware of rules and regulations, especially as regards their duties to students, principal and other members of staff. Oboegulem (2013) opined that it is the responsibility of the school head to maintain disciplinary standards in the school. The author further noted that while the administrator must try to maintain good relationship with his/her staff, he/she should not be afraid to take disciplinary action against any staff who is failing in his/her duty or who is guilty of professional misconduct or some act of immorality. This is because; no academic work grows where indiscipline thrives. The above attributes of human resource management as noted, rest on the principal as the school head to evolve proper leadership that could help him/her achieve them, as seen in transformational leadership style. He/she could employ those attributes that lend to creativity, innovations, staff empowerment, strategic vision, among others. The school principal may not be a human resource management specialist, but he/she can act on the level of a generalist, as he/she could draw a programme which will ensure the training and motivation of his/her teachers, for the job that best suits their abilities, and motivate them to realize and show their maximum efforts so as to attain their maximum efforts so as to attain the organizational objectives (Abba & Anazodo, 2004)


A principal is regarded as the executive head of secondary school (Ogbonnaya, 2013). In order to build strong commitment towards the realization of school goals and promote quality education, the principal is expected to provide strong leadership in setting, developing and achieving the goals of the school, through creating unity of purpose, facilitating all round development of both staff and students and managing instruction. Babayemi (2006) noted that the principal is an executive head of school, because of the way he/she makes decisions and implements them. He/she is a coordinator, who activates work to proceed smoothly, quickly and efficiently. Basically principalship is about shared leadership. Consequently, Bath (2001) stated that the model of principal who unilaterally ‘runs’ a school no longer works very well. This is in line with the principle of executive leadership which is one of the principles of educational administration, which postulates according to Afianmagbon (2009) that equal task and activities should be shared among members of an organization which is what leadership is all about.

A principal is in a unique position to influence the activities which affect policies, procedures, practices and individuals in the school. Without the school leadership therefore, the school activities can neither grow nor last. There is then no doubt for the need of the key characteristics in administrative leadership, but the core values of the person as the principal must be considered if effective leadership would be achieved in secondary schools. The school principal who adopts transformational leadership style as a style of leading his/her subordinates, makes his/her workforce become aware of the importance of their own jobs and how necessary it is, and motivates them to perform those jobs as best as they could, so that the school can attain set goals. These in effect will also make subordinates (teachers) become aware of their needs for personal growth. This is because as earlier mentioned, transformational leadership has inbuilt characteristics for developing the human resources of an organization.

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