Spirituality and transformational leadership in education

Omar Riaz, Florida International University


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between school principals' self-reported spirituality and their transformational leadership behaviors. The relationship between spirituality and transactional leadership behaviors was also explored. The study used Bass and Avolio's (1984) Full Range Leadership Model as the theoretical framework conceptualizing transformational leadership. Data were collected using online surveys. Overall, six principals and sixty-nine teachers participated in the study. Principal surveys contained three parts: the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ Form-5X Short), the modified Spirituality Well-Being Scale (SWBS) and demographic information. Teacher surveys included two parts: the MLQ-5X and demographic information. The MLQ-5X was used to identify the degree of principals' transformational and transactional leadership behaviors. The modified SWBS (Existential Well Being) was used to determine principals' degree of spirituality. The correlation coefficients for the transformational leadership styles of inspirational motivation and idealized behavioral influence were significantly related to principals' spirituality. In addition, a multiple regression analysis including the five measures of transformational leadership as predictors suggested that spirituality is positively related to an individual's transformational leadership behaviors. A multiple regression analysis utilizing a linear combination of all transformational leadership and transactional measures was predictive of spirituality. Finally, it appears that the inspirational motivation measure of transformational leadership accounts for a significant amount of unique variance independent of the other seven transformational and transactional leadership measures in predicting spirituality. Based on the findings from this study, the researcher proposed a modification of Bass and Avolio's (1985) Full Range Leadership Model. An additional dimension, spirituality, was added to the continuum of leadership styles. The findings from this study imply that principals' self-reported levels of spirituality was related to their being perceived as displaying transformational leadership behaviors. Principals who identified themselves as "spiritual", were more likely to be characterized by the transformational leadership style of inspirational motivation.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|School Administration|School administration|Spirituality

Recommended Citation

Riaz, Omar, "Spirituality and transformational leadership in education" (2012). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3541871.