Do Cultural Variables and Sociopolitical Processes Impact Teachers' Perceptions of the Effective Leader?

By: Alexander Zibenberg   Rima'a Da'as Dr.  

In many modern nation-states with minority populations, national identity, justice, and equality are not inclusive of all of the state's citizens; rather, they are limited to varying degrees to the members of the dominant group. Some states deal with minority groups by developing systems of control, based on degrees of force, depending on the state's claim of being 'democratic'. The current study examines the implications of contextual (sociopolitical context) and cultural (i.e., national culture) variables on teachers' perceptions of effective school principals. We use the case of Israel to demonstrate that sociopolitical processes and culture have an effect on teachers' perceptions in schools of the effective leader. A total of 225 M.A. students participated in this study. The participants were teachers from all over Israel, 63.1% Arab (minority), and 32.9% Jewish. We used the six-dimension model of Epitropaki and Martin (2004) to measure the characteristics of effective leaders. Results showed that there are differences between Arab and Jewish teachers' perceptions of the effective principal. Jewish teachers perceived their principals as more intelligent and dedicated than did Arab teachers. Arab teachers, in turn, perceived their principals as more tyrannical and masculine. We further explained these differences in the specific context (control, conflict and national culture). This research challenges principals leading their schools to success according to their teachers' perceptions and opens a new avenue for research into understanding effective leadership in different contexts.

Cultural Characteristics, Implicit Theories, Conflict, Control
Education and Learning in a World of Difference
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Alexander Zibenberg

Lecturer, Human Services, Tel Hai College, Israel

Rima'a Da'as Dr.

Dr., education, Al-Qasemi - Academic college of education, Israel