Exploring leadership styles during times of economic recession through principal and teacher perceptions
The purpose of this qualitative research was to explore how the economic recession affected leadership styles through the perspectives of current administrators and teachers in five Georgia high schools. The study was driven by two research questions including the administrator’s perception and the teacher’s perception of how the leadership styles had evolved, adapted, or changed due to economic factors. The participants in this study were selected from a mixture of purposeful and random sampling. Five high school administrators with at least eight years of experience in their school were chosen and asked to participate. Three teachers with at least eight years of experience in the same school were chosen at random from each location to also participate. This yielded a total of twenty participants, three male administrators, two female administrators, three male teachers, and twelve female teachers. The age and educational background of the participants was varied. The data for this study was collected through interviews with the participants. Interviews were transcribed and thematic coding was used to analyze the data. This process allowed the researcher to identify common patterns and emerging themes from the data collected. Through the theoretical framework of the study, the researcher was able to connect the data to the research questions. Four themes were identified in the data analysis: (1) Protection, (2) Responsibility, (3) Careful Decision Making, and (4) Maintaining Focus. The findings of this study revealed that during economic hardship, administrators were forced to adapt their leadership styles in order to cope. It was found that transformational leadership components, as well as flexible and adaptive leadership components were used to effectively lead the educational organizations through the economic recession. Through this research, the researcher was able to provide information to current and future leaders in how to better prepare for financial turmoil while maintaining quality education as the ultimate goal.