Background of Study

Student academic achievement is very crucial now to be address at every level, from a perspective of an individual, a family, an organization like school and nation as a whole. Student academic achievement must be achieved successfully together with non-academic area like co-curriculum. Nevertheless, the academic achievement is still a core business for a school to meet successfully.

There are factors that lead to a success of school and at the same time brings about the success of student academic achievement. According to Haymon (1992), there is positive relationship between leadership and student academic achievement. Based on leadership theories, there are eight type of leadership theorist; there are Great Man Theory, Trait Theory, Behavioural Theories, Participative Leadership, and situational Leadership, Contingency Theories, Transactional Leadership and Transformational leadership.

Since that this research will focus on the student academic achievement, as according to Balcon (2006), school leaders has the role of leadership in the school as an autocratic leader, democratic and laissez faire. Autocratic leaders implied as leader that has no confidence and trust to subordinates and never delegates, motives by treats, little communication and teamwork. Next, the democratic leaders have complete confidence and trust to subordinates and allowing them to make decisions. The motives are by setting goals, participation and sharing ideas. While laissez-faire acts upon the policy of non-interference and subordinates are free to do their work in pre-planned criteria and this leadership normally do not enjoys authority. According to Balcon (2006), the types of leadership stated are Transformational, Transactional or Laissez Faire Leadership. So, this research will find out the relationship between the leadership style (transformational, transactional and laissez faire) with students academic achievement and taking power as moderating variable.

Teachers are the respondents because this research will find out the relationship between leadership style (Transformational, Transactional or Laissez faire) and students academic achievement. Why teachers are the suitable respondents? Because, for instance, when a leader initiates a strategy, to be specific, academic strategy to increase students’ academic achievement in a school examination, leader is only initiating the strategy and instructing, but the teachers who are going to execute it. So, based on teacher’s perception as an executer for school’s strategy, they are the suitable respondents to find out which are the leadership style that promotes student academic achievement based on their perception.

Literature had found out that power has a relationship with leadership style whether it can induce to more effective leaderships in terms of influencing subordinates, empowering or others. So, in this study, researcher will find out whether there is any relationship of power as a moderating variable between leadership style as independent variable and students’ academic achievement as dependent variable.

Problem Statement

Leadership is unique to a particular person to another. The skilled adopting by leaders can be from experience, training or formal education. Adaptions of type of leaders are also unique and the ways the leaders lead are reflection of themselves. For instance, if a person is a visionary person, when he or she becomes a leader, they will become a visionary leader. Provided this, leaders must also equip themselves with other style of leadership that are able to ensure towards the academic achievements of students. Apart from that, training, seminar or workshop held by the government can drive attention towards the effective leadership style that will lead to students’ academic achievement in an institutions or school. The research finding will help leaders or head teachers to have a guidelines on the effective leadership style that will brings to students academic achievement. Respondents are among teachers in government primary school focussing the area of ‘Pedalaman Atas’, Sabah consisting of the district of Keningau, Tambunan, Sook, Nabawan and Tenom. These areas share the same diverse culture diversity and they are approximately consisting of people with lower level to middle income family. Leaders who are servicing the institutions or school as well as the teachers comes form different background in terms of education, demographic and culture. The research findings will assist leaders to establish their own leadership style to suit the needs and at the same time achieve to increase students academic achievements apart from formal training or education in the exposure of leadership styles. These findings will be unique to the locality of the schools, teachers, students and head teacher.

The use of power may or may not increase the effectiveness of leadership style. As now, leaders are consisting of various backgrounds, experience, levels of educational and to make it short, leaders are now so diverse. To go even further, this study will conclude which leadership styles show higher relationship as compared among them. Therefore, leaders will be able to make the findings as guidelines in practicing the leadership style accordingly. In the study, researcher will use questionnaire to obtain data from the respondent which are teachers. The instruments will gather data and answer the research objectives.

Research Objective

Based on the dependent variable student academic achievement, independent variable leadership style focusing on transformational, transactional and laissez faire and power as the moderating variable, the research objectives for this proposal are:

To find the relationship between transformational leadership style and student academic achievement.
To find the relationship between transactional leadership style and student academic achievement.
To find the relationship between laissez faire leadership style and student academic achievement.
To find the relationship of power as a moderating between transformational leadership style and student’s academic achievement.
To find the relationship of power as a moderating between transactional leadership style and student’s academic achievement.
To find the relationship of power as a moderating between laissez faire leadership style and student’s academic achievement.


Using the SPSS regression analysis, there are relationships between transformational leadership and students academic achievements, however, there are no relationship between transactional and laissez faire relationship with students academic achievement. When power interacts with independent and dependent variables, there are significance different in the interaction of transactional leadership and students academic achievement. Transformational and laissez faire leadership style are not significance when they are interacted with moderating variable.


Through literature review, before the data being collected, while they are collected and findings shows variability in the answers. For instance, during literature review, researcher found out that, there are various study had been done in this area, but different setting and conclude into different findings. There are findings that said there are relationship occur between leadership style and student achievement. Nevertheless, there are also findings that contradict with relationship. Also, there also findings conclude that there is no interaction at all between these variables. However, as the study involved in different setting, for example, study might e conducted in primary school, secondary school, urban school or low income level school. As long as it at different setting, teachers and principals employed at different setting will have different perspective accordingly. Hence, this research addressed primary school teachers that service primary school in Pedalaman, Sabah. Sample being used is a convenience sampling. Based on researcher experience collecting data for this purpose, researcher learned that, area sampling is appropriate in order to benefits the locality and unique setting in the research.

Based on researchers’ observations and informal interview with respondent, they said that laissez faire leadership style will be the most acceptable in line with student academic achievement. For schools with low academic performance, transactional leadership style is the most adopted. But, the findings of the research found out that among the three leadership style, only transformational leadership has a relationship on the leadership style and student academic achievement. Transactional and laissez faire leadership style does not have relationship with student’s academic achievement.

For the contribution of the research, researchers had tested power to moderate the relationship between independent variables. According to the findings, there are a significance relationship between transactional leadership style with students academic achievement when power taken as moderator. But, when power is taken out from the relationship, transactional leadership style has no relationship with student’s academic achievement. There are no significance relationships on the transformational and laissez faire leadership style with power as moderating.

There are rationale when transactional leadership style, power and students academic achievement transact, there are relationship occurred. By looking at the elements of variables themselves, for example, for transactional leadership, the way they lead is with clear chain of command, leader has full authority and control to subordinates and they are standard to follow guidelines and procedure, in short they lead like a military style of leadership. On the other hands, transformational leaders are leaders who are visionary, they lead with teamwork. Laissez faire leaders are leaders who let subordinates to play their own role in accomplishing task. Power and transactional leaders are interrelated in terms of ways they are doing their work.

As additional reference for more information on this very important subject, you can read more at: 

Hazlinah Ramlee, Sabah.
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