Paternalistic leadership is a leadership style commonly found in East Asia. It “combines strong discipline and authority with fatherly benevolence and moral integrity couched in a personalistic atmosphere”. An article recently published in Frontiers in Psychology examined how such leadership style influences teachers in Chinese schools when situated in the educational context.
The study was conducted among 407 elementary school teachers from southern provinces in China. Participants completed a survey measuring teachers’ perception of their principals’ paternalistic leadership, trust in the principal, teacher commitment to students, and teachers’ job satisfaction. The result showed that:
- Teachers’ job satisfaction was negatively affected by principals’ authoritarian behaviour but was promoted by moral leadership.
- However, both authoritarian leadership and moral leadership had positive indirect effects on teachers’ job satisfaction through enhancement of trust in the principal.
- Moral leadership of the principals also had a significant positive effect on teachers’ commitment to students.
- Benevolent leadership, on the other hand, had significant effects on neither teachers’ job satisfaction nor commitment to students.
The authors concluded that it was important for principals to be a role model and to pay attention to the empowerment of teachers, by such means as providing professional autonomy to teachers and involving them in the decision-making process.
Source (Open Access): Shi, X., Yu, Z., & Zheng, X. (2020). Exploring the relationship between paternalistic leadership, teacher commitment, and job satisfaction in Chinese schools. Frontiers in Psychology. Advanced Online Publication. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01481