Journal of Educational and Management Studies  
J. Educ. Manage. Stud., 10(4): 61-70, December 25, 2020  
License: CC BY 4.0,  
ISSN: 2322-4770  
Effect of principals’ full range of leadership on student  
learning achievement: a survey of Nepali private schools  
Jiban Khadka  
Faculty of Social Sciences and Education, Nepal Open University, Nepal  
Original Article  
Nepali institutional schools are considered as good performing institutions based on their  
academic performance. For the school performance, principal's leadership role is pertinent.  
The objective of this study was to examine three leadership behaviors of Full Range of  
Leadership: transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership in order to find their  
effect on student learning achievement. The data, using leadership survey questionnaire, were  
collected from 121 schools of three districts across the country. The findings yielded from the  
statistical analysis show that the principals exhibit higher level of transformational leadership  
as compared to transactional leadership and laissez-faire leadership. Both transformational  
and transactional leadership behaviors were significant predictors of student learning  
achievement. Relatively, principals' transactional leadership was more effective.  
PII: S232247702000008-10  
Rec. 07 November, 2020  
Acc. 11 December, 2020  
Pub. 25 December, 2020  
Full Range of Leadership,  
Transactional, Laissez-faire,  
Student Learning Achievement  
(Northouse, 2013; Bass and Riggio, 2006). However,  
there is very little known whether the leaders of  
Nepali private schools practice the FRL in the schools.  
Therefore, this study was carried out to address  
the gap of knowledge, and generalize the findings in  
similar contexts. The objective of this study was to  
examine three leadership behaviours of FRL:  
Transformational, transactional and laissez-faire  
leadership in relation to the schools' performance,  
especially, academic performance through the  
following research questions:  
What is the status of three leadership behaviours  
(transformational, transactional and laissez-faire  
leadership) of the principals of Nepali private schools?  
To what extent does Principals' leadership  
behaviour affect the student learning achievement?  
Nepali institutional schools (private schools) are  
considered as good performing institutions based on  
their academic performance as compared to  
community schools (public schools). For example, in  
the School Education Examination 2019 at the end of  
tenth grade in Nepali schools, students' Grade Point  
Average (GPA) above 3.2 was secured by 40.79% of the  
students of private schools whereas it was 4.29% in  
public schools. Similarly, GPA of below 1.6 was  
secured by 1.19% of the students of private schools but  
it was 14.34% in public schools (Shrestha, 2019).  
For expected or beyond this level of  
performance, school principal's leadership role is  
pertinent. School leaders need to motivate their  
teachers to do more than they originally intended  
which is possible through the practice of  
transformational leadership (Bass and Riggio, 2006).  
In addition to transformational leadership, other two  
leadership: transactional and laissez-leadership are  
included in the Full Range of Leadership (FRL) model  
that can be used to explain a wide range of leadership,  
and attempts to influence followers on one-to-one  
level, whole organizations, and even entire cultures  
Leadership Context in Private Schools of Nepal  
In Nepali school education, private schools have  
qualitatively. According to Flash Report 2017-2018  
published by Department of Education, Nepal, out of  
35,601 schools of grade (1-12), 6,566 schools are private  
which is 18.44% of the total schools. Similarly, out of  
7,391,524 students of grade (1-12), 1,328,693 students  
To cite this paper: Khadka J (2020). Effect of principals’ full range of leadership on student learning achievement: a survey of Nepali private schools. J. Educ. Manage.  
Khadka, 2020  
are in private schools which is 18% of the total  
determinant of the schools’ performance. These  
findings seem contradictory to several empirical  
research findings that claim ‘autocratic leadership’ as  
an ‘ineffective leadership’ or show negative  
correlation between autocratic leadership and  
school's performance (Nadarasa and Thuraisingam,  
2014; Nsubuga, 2008; Singh, 1984). Nonetheless, the  
findings of the studies on the Nepali private school  
principals’ leadership have not been assessed using  
standard tools from a representative sample. Further,  
the studies kept no concern on the extent to which  
principal’s leadership would explain the academic  
performance. This contradiction and confusion  
created the need of an investigation on leadership of  
Nepali private school leaders other than authoritarian  
or autocratic leadership which can explain the  
existing performance of the schools.  
students. If academic performance- students’ test  
score- is considered for assessing the performance of  
Nepali private schools, it is remarkably better. The  
data show the significant contribution of private  
schools in school education of Nepal. Behind the  
academic success of the private schools, a study  
conducted by Thapa (2011) highlighted many reasons  
such as effective management of physical facilities,  
family characteristics of a student, parents-teacher  
meeting, rules of schools, learning environment, and  
many others. In an exploratory case study done by  
Shrestha (2007) also defined head teachers as  
successful leaders of those schools which had well-  
performance. Despite these all reasons, what about  
the leadership is in the schools is? Which leadership  
works best to effectively manage human resources-  
teachers- as teachers have significant role on  
students' academic achievement (Akiri, 2013).  
Full Range of Leadership (FRL): A Wide Range of  
School principal’s leadership has a pivotal role to  
play over the academic success of the school as  
his/her leadership is a positive correlated factor to  
other factors, for example, school climate and  
students’ success (Saleem et al., 2012; Nahavandi,  
2008). Khanal and Park (2016) state that school  
principals' role has great impact on students’  
achievement directly and indirectly as they have  
influence on school innovation, student behaviour,  
academic progress, teacher motivation and  
development, and instructional excellence for the  
success of a school. Considering the leadership  
context in private schools of Nepal, in higher-  
performing schools, the head teachers are found  
proactive in administration and leadership (Singh and  
Allison, 2016), however this qualitative based research  
study has also induced ignorance which leadership  
the head teachers' practice.  
In this concern, some researches like Vanlalhrita  
(2009), Thapa (2011) and Poudyal (2013) have carried  
out studies concerning the principals’ leadership. The  
studies have shown that authoritarian or autocratic  
leadership has been adapted in Nepali private schools;  
the owner/principal retains all the authority; the  
employed teacher staff has responsibility without  
proper authority. From this perspective, these studies  
indicate that autocratic leadership of the Nepali  
private schools’ principals appear to be a positive  
Full Range of Leadership (FRL) model includes  
three leadership behaviours: Transformational,  
Transactional and Laissez-faire leadership (Bass and  
Riggio, 2006). The major concern of this study is to  
investigate whether Nepali private school principals  
had been practicing the full range of leadership. The  
review is focused on FRL model and its relation to  
organizational performances.  
In 'contingency era' (1960s to present) of  
transformational leadership as a new approach of  
leadership was introduced by Burn in 1978, Later, Bass  
(1985, 1999) developed the TFL model, also called Full  
Range Leadership (Northouse, 2019). The rationale of  
the study of this leadership model is that this model  
focuses more on empirical research studies as  
compared to other theories, and is found to be more  
effective (Hariri, 2011). In Nepali institutional school  
context, how do the principals of the schools inspire  
their teachers? Do they motivate their teachers? What  
about individual care for their teachers? Are the  
teachers given opportunities to show their creativity?  
Are the principals fair in appreciating the teachers’  
performance? Are the teachers supported by the  
school principal? Do they get regular feedback? Are  
they (teachers) free from the principals’ leadership?  
This study attempts to answer these questions  
through this FRL leadership model.  
J. Educ. Manage. Stud., 10(4): 61-70, 2020  
Similarly, this leadership model considers the  
(TSL) less or vice versa (Bass, 1999). In practice of the  
FRL model as described by Hariri (2011),  
transformational is practiced on one end at higher  
level, transactional in the middle at moderate level,  
and laissez-faire leadership (LFL) at the other end at  
low level. From the understanding of Bass and Riggio  
(2006), Hariri (2011) and others’ research studies,  
these three-basic leadership behaviours under the  
FRL model are presented in the following figure 1 in a  
employees’ needs from physiological level to self-  
actualization. For example, fairness in return to  
employee’s performance, inspiring employees to  
move beyond their immediate self-interest or  
expected level of performance are common practices  
of this model. Every leader display both the  
transactional and transformational leadership  
behaviours, but some of them adopt transformational  
leadership (TFL) more and transactional leadership  
Figure 1. Full Range of Leadership Model: Process and Outcomes  
In the practice of FRL model, some concerns arose  
as to whether Nepali institutional schools’ principals  
practice TFL more and TSL less, or vice versa or equal  
is a matter of research. What does the laissez-faire  
leadership of the principals concern with? Some  
research studies have been carried out to address  
such issues as well.  
As flashed in earlier section, out of three  
leadership styles, TFL is an active/effective leadership  
that leads the employees to perform beyond the  
expected level, and TSL as moderately an  
active/effective leadership that leads to perform up to  
the expected level (Hariri, 2011). But, LFL is identified  
as an inactive/ineffective leadership, and linked to low  
level of outcomes. Now, it is relevant to contend how  
these three leadership behaviours are applied in the  
behaviours and what factors are constituted in three  
leadership behaviours.  
As stated in figure 1, TFL behaviour is composed  
of different components. However, some of them are  
similar to each other. Bass and Riggio (2006) state  
four components of transformational leadership that  
are charisma or idealized influence, inspirational  
Khadka, 2020  
individualized consideration (Judge and Piccolo,  
leadership. The leader delegates almost all power to  
subordinates and there is no or little presence of  
authority that leads the organization.  
2004). The first component ‘idealized influence’ is  
defined as role model of a leader, and hence, the  
followers trust/respect their leaders. The second  
component is ‘inspirational motivation’ in which  
leader provides meaning and challenge to the  
followers’ work. Further, the leader articulates a  
vision in such a way that followers are inspired and  
motivated to attend the goal. The third component is  
intellectual stimulation’ in which a leader provides  
opportunity to follower to utilize or use their  
creativity. Due to this practice, a teamwork can yield  
the outcome synergistically. The fourth component is  
‘individualized consideration’, that leader understands  
the followers’ need where the followers get high care  
from leaders. As the leader acts as coach or mentor,  
the followers individually involve in their work  
sincerely in the right way.  
Similarly, Bass, in 1985, proposed two  
components of transactional leadership: contingent  
reward and management by exception. In contingent  
reward, the followers exchange their effort for  
specified reward where leaders try to get followers’  
agreement on the performance standard for the  
followers’ payoff (Northouse, 2013). Further, the  
leadership behaviour is influenced by management by  
exception; it involves corrective actions, negative  
feedback and negative reinforcement against  
desirable performance. Hater and Bass, in 1988,  
separated management by exception into two sub-  
components. First is management by exception  
(active) in which a leader takes corrective action  
during the work before an employee faces any  
problem and in second sub-component management  
by exception (passive), a leader ignores providing  
suggestions during the works (Judge and Piccolo,  
2004). In essence, transactional leader believes in  
bargaining between leader and followers. The leader  
sets performance standard that the followers have to  
meet to get rewards. During the course of action, the  
followers either get corrective actions to meet the  
standard or they work without support.  
When FRL model is considered theoretically,  
performance up to the desirable level or even beyond  
can be expected if the transactional and  
transformational leadership are adapted together by a  
leader in an organization. After a review on the FRL  
model, some questions arise that whether Nepali  
institutional schools’ principals demonstrate three  
leadership styles: transformational, transactional and  
laissez-faire leadership in a continuum from effective  
to ineffective as stated by Bass; whether these  
leadership behaviours affect the student learning  
achievement. These are also the matter of study that  
what personal or social factors influence their  
leadership. Do the leadership model is significantly  
different across the principals' demographic  
characteristics. This study attempted to answer these  
issues in Nepali private school context.  
The field-based survey within quantitative research  
approach was employed for this study. The survey of  
the leadership of private schools’ principals as  
perceived by their teachers was carried out taking a  
representative sample, determined by Cochran’s  
(1977) formula, using cluster random sampling  
techniques. Altogether 491 teachers from 121 schools  
were involved in the survey from three districts  
located across Eastern, Western and Middle regions of  
the country. For the student learning achievement,  
the data of School Education Examination of recent  
three years were collected from the Office of the  
Controller of Examination, Bhaktapur.  
For the survey of principals' leadership, the  
leadership survey questionnaire (LSQ) with a list for  
principalsʼ demographic characteristics was used to  
assess the teachers’ perceptions towards leadership  
behaviours of their principals. In the process of  
preparing LSQ, the researcher was permitted to use  
the questionnaire used by T. C. Obiwuru, A. T. Okwu,  
V. O. Akpa, and I. A. Nwankwere who assessed the  
leadership behaviours in their study in 2011. However,  
the questionnaire was not sufficient to meet the need  
of this study as there were some irrelevant items and  
also missing of the items for measuring laissez-faire  
Regarding laissez-faire leadership behaviour, a  
leader allows freedom to group decision without the  
leader’s participation, and due to this reason, it is  
recommended to be minimized in school context  
(Adeyemi, 2011). This leadership does not contain any  
component that collectively contributes to the  
J. Educ. Manage. Stud., 10(4): 61-70, 2020  
leadership, the researcher reviewed other literature  
such as Horn-Turpin (2009), Nsubuga (2008), and  
Hayward (2005) that would help to prepare  
relation of leadership behaviours to the student  
learning achievement.  
complete set of questionnaire. The questionnaire was  
prepared in Nepali language version by the process of  
“translation-back-translation” (Harkness, 2003). It  
was rater version (teacher version) with five point  
Likert scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree.  
Finally, 20 items for transformational, 12 items for  
transactional and 4 items for laissez-faire leadership  
were asked to the teachers to rate the leadership  
exhibited by their principals after ensuring its  
reliability and validity.  
For the quality assurance of the questionnaire,  
two forms of reliability: stability and internal  
consistency were established by pilot study. After two  
rounds of survey of the questionnaire on a sample of  
40 participant teachers in pilot study, Spearman’s  
coefficient of correlation for stability in the  
components of transformational leadership was  
ranged from .70 to .83, in the components of  
transactional leadership, it ranged from .71 to .78 and  
it was .73 for laissez-faire leadership. The values of  
Cronbach’s alpha for internal consistency were  
ranged from .70 to .74 in transformational leadership,  
from .71 to .73 in transactional leadership, and .70 in  
laissez-faire leadership. This result indicates higher  
level of reliability on the questionnaire as suggested  
by Nunnally and Bernstein, an observed correlation is  
to be at least 0.70, a lower bound to acceptable  
reliability (Hertzog, 2008). Subject experts'  
suggestions and feedback from a group discussion  
with the teachers were also incorporated to ensure  
the validity of the questionnaire.  
For the statistical methods of data analysis,  
percentage and frequency were used to analyze the  
demographic characteristics of the schools' principals.  
The descriptive statistics: frequency, percentage and  
ranks were used to examine the level of leadership  
behaviours of the principals. The percentage of raters  
on Likert scale items with the range from strongly  
disagree to strongly agree was the basis of exploring  
the direction and intensity of Likert scale data  
analysis. The responses were re-grouped into three  
categories: Agreement, Neutral and Disagreement for  
labeling the principals' readership. The binary logistic  
regression was used to examine the predictive  
The demographic information of the principals was  
used to examine the principals’ leadership behaviours  
across their characteristics. From results, the number  
of female principals was very low as compared to male  
principals (male = 90% and female = 10%). Majority of  
the principals were of middle age of 36-45 years, and  
experience of 5-14 years. The principals with senior  
age more than 36 years, and long experience with  
more than five years were leading the institutions.  
The principals with high level of academic degree had  
been appointed or the principals acquired higher level  
of education degree where in the education  
regulation, minimum bachelor degree is mandatory  
for the post. Only a few number of principals seemed  
untrained (=13.4%). In overall observation of  
principals’ demographic characteristics, the schools  
have been led by those principals who are male, senior  
with long experience, trained with having high level  
of academic qualification.  
Status of Principals' FRL Behaviours  
Average percentages of teachers' responses  
towards the leadership of their principals were re-  
grouped into three categories: disagreement,  
undecided and agreement that was used to assess the  
level of leadership along with their respective  
components. The findings showed that high number  
(= 70.5%) of the teachers agreed that the principals  
practice transformational leadership. This finding is  
partially supported by the study carried by Pokhrel  
(2015). His study showed that transformational  
leadership skills were not displayed by the Nepali  
institutional principals. However, in quantitative  
analysis, he revealed that most of the teachers rated  
their principals that they develop shared culture in  
their schools, frequently trust building, act with  
integrity, inspire others, encourage innovative  
thinking, coach people. From this point of view, the  
transformational leadership in the schools.  
Considering the transactional leadership, more  
than half (= 60.3%) of teachers agreed on rating the  
Khadka, 2020  
principals as exhibiting transactional leadership, and  
the observation of the pattern of rank values yielded  
from the non-parametric tests. For examples, female  
principals were rated at higher rank in both  
transformational and transactional leadership as  
compared to male principals. The principals were  
found practicing transactional leadership more as  
their age and experience increase. It is similar for  
transformational leadership in the case of their  
experience. Principals with the qualification of above  
bachelor degree or training received were ranked at  
higher level of both transformational and  
transactional leadership in comparison to the  
principals with qualification of bachelor degree or  
who had not received training.  
Regarding the leadership of the principals and  
their gender, the findings correspond to the findings  
of Shrestha (2007), Al Noor et al. (2011), Grunes (2011),  
Craven and Kao (2006) and Ibukun et al. (2012) that  
female leaders exhibits transformational leadership  
behaviours. However, it contradicts the findings of  
Mohammed et al. (2012), and Mandell and Pherwani  
(2003). In regard with the leadership behaviours and  
the age of principals, the result did not show any  
significant difference. It is consistent with the study  
of Barbuto et al. (2007) and partially supports to  
Craven and Kao (2006). In contrast, Ibukun et al.  
(2012) contend that the principals with higher age  
significantly performed better than younger  
principals. Regarding principals’ leadership styles and  
their experience, it was also not statistically different.  
It supports the findings of Craven and Kao (2006) but  
contradicts to the finding of Ibukun et al. (2012) that  
the more experienced principals were better  
performers. The finding of the study also supports the  
finding of Craven and Kao (2006) and Mohammed et  
al. (2012) that the leadership behaviours of the  
principals do not significantly differ from the  
qualification of principals. These evidences showed  
that there was no uniformity in the practice of  
leadership behaviours based on their demographic  
characteristics. Rather, leaders practice their  
leadership behaviours as per the situation rather than  
their demographic characteristics.  
still one fourth of the teachers rated their principals  
as adopting laissez-faire leadership. 60.5% of the  
teachers disagreed that their principals exhibit  
laissez-faire leadership. Then, they display either  
behaviours. Only 20.9% and 8.6% of the respondent  
teachers disagreed that the principals display  
transactional and transformational leadership  
respectively. In the current literature on these two  
leadership behaviours: transactional and laissez-faire  
in Nepali schools context are the issues of little  
concern. However, this finding is similar in some  
extent to a case study of Poudyal (2013) that shows the  
principals practice transactional leadership as  
authoritative leadership in the schools. In overall  
observation across three leadership behaviours, this  
finding supports what Bass (2000) says that  
transactional leadership is effective up to the  
exchange level and transformational leadership  
beyond it. As perceived by the teachers, two  
leadership behaviours of the principals: non-  
transactional (laissez-faire) and management by  
exception (passive) were rated in the opposite end of  
the continuum of other leadership styles  
(transformational and transactional leadership).  
Non-parametric tests (Mann Whitney U Test for  
two sub-groups and Kruskal Wallis H Test for more  
than two sub-groups of principals) showed that both  
transformational and transactional leadership across  
the demographic characteristics of Principals: Gender,  
age, qualification, experience and training status was  
not significantly difference at 5% level of significance  
as p-value was less than the significant value.  
In the case of laissez-faire leadership, it was  
significantly across the different age group of  
teachers. Bonferroni post hoc test was used to identify  
the two groups in which the significant difference  
would exist. The test revealed that the principals with  
the experience years of 15-20 years was significantly  
different from other three experience groups of  
principals. This result showed that the principals who  
were from the age group of 15-20 years were rated at  
higher level in the practice of laissez-faire leadership.  
This is left for future researches that why the teachers  
of this group demonstrate the laissez-faire leadership.  
Effect of Principals’ FRL Behaviour on Student  
Learning Achievement  
Binary logistic regression model was used to  
investigate the effects of principal’s leadership on the  
insignificant, some interesting results are found from  
J. Educ. Manage. Stud., 10(4): 61-70, 2020  
student learning achievement. The model considered  
From table 1, the independent variables: three  
leadership behaviours and demographic  
the assumptions of multicollinearity, dependent  
variable as dichotomous and minimum number of 50  
in each group of independent variable maximum  
likelihood coefficients. The statistical results are as  
characteristics reduced the -2 Log Likelihood  
statistics to 243.187. The table shows that the value of  
Nagelkerke R Square was .188. This did not indicate  
very strong predictability power of the logistic  
regression model that mean approximately 19%  
percentage of the variation in dependent variable:  
student learning achievement had been explained by  
the considered independent variables (covariates).  
Table 1 . Model Summary  
-2 Log  
Cox & Snell  
R Square  
R Square  
Table 2. Variables in the Equation  
Transformational leadership (x1) :  
(High level of TFL with reference to Low level)  
Transactional leadership (x2):  
(High level of TSL with reference to Low level)  
Laissez-faire leadership (x3):  
(High level of LFL with reference to Low level)  
Gender (x4):  
(Female with reference to male)  
Age (x5): (Age with reference to the age up to 35 years)  
Experience (x6): (Experience with reference to the experience below 15 years)  
Qualification (x7): (Qualification above Bachelor degree with reference to  
Training Status (x8): (Training received with reference to the training not  
From the table 2, in aggregate, the logistic  
The results show that the principals with high  
regression equation was:  
level of both TFL and TSL were more likely to have  
their student learning achievement better. Compared  
to those principals with lower level of TFL and TSL,  
the principals with higher level of TFL and TSL were  
both about three to four (= 2.607 and 3.578) times  
more likely to have their student learning  
achievement respectively. The findings of this study  
are supported to several researches as follows:  
Regarding the effect of TFL on student learning  
achievement, the finding of this study is in line with  
the many international research studies that showed  
the positive effects of the TFL on various aspects of  
educational and other types of organizations. For  
example, the studies of Grunes (2011), Ojokuku et al.  
(2012), Cemaloglu et al. (2012), Miao et al. (2012) and  
many others showed positive influence of TFL on the  
outcomes such as satisfaction, motivation, and  
Logit (P) = 1.398 + 2.607x1 + 3.578x2  
The results showed that the covariates:  
transformational and transactional leadership  
behaviours positively and significantly explained the  
characteristics of the principals (gender, age,  
experience, qualification, and training) and one of the  
leadership behavior (Laissez-faire leadership) were  
not found significant predictors to explain their  
student learning achievement.  
The following  
statistical results are important to analyze effect of  
FRL on student learning achievement:  
[Wald' s 2 5.584,10.435,  
P .018,.001.05,  
odds ratio = exp (B) = 2.607,3.578]  
Khadka, 2020  
performance of the follower. But, in the case of  
transformational and transactional leadership the  
principals exhibit, greater is the effectiveness of the  
leadership on student learning achievement. This idea  
can lead us to conclude that leadership performance  
in schools can be enhanced by developing  
transformational and transactional leadership in  
Nepali private schools or in similar context,  
particularly, public schools.  
transactional leadership, this finding supports only a  
few number of research studies. For example,  
Cemaloglu et al. (2012) found significant relationships  
between TSL style and organizational performances.  
Nevertheless, this study contradicted to many  
researchers such as Shahhosseini et al. (2013), Ying et  
al. (2012), and Fernandes and Awamleh (2004). Their  
studies showed that TSL as  
a negative and  
(in)significant influencing factor on the followers and  
organizations' performance. Regarding the effect of  
Laissez-faire leadership, the finding of this study  
partially agreed with some past studies. For example,  
Nsubuga’s (2008) study showed very low level of  
correlation of LFL behaviour with schools’  
performance. Unlikely to many research findings such  
as Hariri (2011), LFL behavior of the principals did not  
seem to be a negative predictor of the schoolsʼ  
In conclusion, two leadership behaviours: TFL and  
TSL are reveled significantly effective which supports  
the review of Khanal and Park (2016). From the result  
of this study as stated above, Full Range of  
Leadership, and the student learning achievement are  
functionally related as A = f (L) + Ɛ1, where A: student  
learning achievement, L: two leadership behaviours  
(TFL and TSL), Ɛ: errors, some other unidentified  
variables (Ɛ1) which this model did not identified.  
Competing interests  
The authors declare that they have no competing  
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In Nepali institutional schools, the principals, as  
perceived by their teachers, practice transformational  
and transactional leadership behaviours. They exhibit  
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