Principals' leadership and teachers' motivation: Self-determination theory analysis

Ori Eyal*, Guy Roth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between educational leadership and teacher's motivation. The research described here was anchored in the convergence of two fundamental theories of leadership and motivation: The full range model of leadership and self-determination theory. The central hypotheses were that transformational leadership would predict autonomous motivation among teachers, whereas transactional leadership would predict controlled motivation. The authors further predicted that autonomous motivation would mediate the relations between transformational leadership and teachers' burnout and that controlled motivation would mediate the relations between transactional leadership and burnout. Design/methodology/approach: Questionnaires assessing the variables of interest were completed by 122 Israeli teachers. Findings: Results, based on structure equation modeling, supported the hypotheses, suggesting that leadership styles among school principals play a significant role in teachers' motivation and well-being. Research limitations/implications: The school's environment in Western society is characterized by many impositions and pressures that affect teachers' well-being, as reflected in their quality and intensity of motivation, affect, and burnout. Thus, the present research findings suggest that if the power in educational systems is delegated to school principals, and if the latter are encouraged and trained to be autonomy supportive toward their educational staff, then these steps may potentially facilitate teachers' autonomous motivation, satisfaction, and well-being. Originality/value: Few studies have examined the relationship between various styles of leadership and different types of motivation among followers. The present novel study has the potential to fill this gap by empirically studying the relationship between educational leadership and teachers' motivation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)256-275
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Israel
  • Leadership
  • Motivation (psychology)
  • Teachers
  • Transformational leadership


Dive into the research topics of 'Principals' leadership and teachers' motivation: Self-determination theory analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this