The Influence of Primary School Principals´ Leadership Styles on Innovative Practices


  • Petra Heissenberger University College of Teacher Education in Lower Austria
  • Nancy Heilbronner


Leadership, Innovation, School Administration


This qualitative research explored the relationship between school principals’ leadership styles and their innovative practices in schools. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ; Avolio & Bass, 1995), was administered to 38 school principals in Lower Austria, who, based on their responses, were then categorized as leaders with stronger or weaker transformational leadership styles.  Six of these principals were then interviewed: three with strong transformational leadership styles (Transformational – High) and three with weaker transformational leadership styles (Transformational – Low). Interview data were coded qualitatively, and patterns and themes emerged relating to how these two groups viewed innovation in their school. The two groups of leaders were similar in that they both viewed requirements for innovation similarly.  Both groups also believed that the results of innovation could lead to an improvement in collegial collaboration and relationship.  However, leaders with stronger transformational leadership styles viewed innovation more positively and placed more importance on innovation than participants with their weaker transformational counterparts. Implications for practice are discussed.

Author Biography

Petra Heissenberger, University College of Teacher Education in Lower Austria

Deputy head of the department of educational management and leadership at the University College of Teacher Education in Lower Austria.