Transformational classroom leadership and workplace engagement: exploring the relationship

DProf thesis

Stoffell, P. 2017. Transformational classroom leadership and workplace engagement: exploring the relationship. DProf thesis Middlesex University Institute for Work Based Learning
TypeDProf thesis
TitleTransformational classroom leadership and workplace engagement: exploring the relationship
AuthorsStoffell, P.

In the global higher education (HE) environment characterised by rising accountability, fiscal pressures, fierce competition for student placements and increasing expectations for successful graduate employment, academic teaching proficiency continues to generate increasing amounts of attention among researchers. Given the critical importance of teaching styles and models in terms of meeting these expectations, and crucially those of students, to what extent does the concept of the ‘caring professor’ contribute to the longer-term satisfaction of students in subsequent work settings after graduating? Can the behaviours exhibited by the ‘caring professor’ be attributed to transformational leadership behaviours of teaching academics? And can any association be found between the students’ experiences of the behaviours of the ‘caring professor’ and their subsequent workplace engagement?
This study, carried out in a Hong Kong higher education institution (HEI), explored the extent to which the idea of the ‘caring professor’ could be explained by the notion of transformational classroom leadership by examining the relationship between transformational classroom leadership and workplace engagement. Acting in a role of internal practitioner/researcher, I adapted the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) to measure transformational leadership in this HEI and examined the extent to which undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts perceived they experienced transformational leadership among teaching academics while completing their studies. In a series of cross-sectional surveys, alumni cohorts from years 2011-15 in the HEI were surveyed to retrospectively rate perceptions of transformational leadership among teaching academics, using a modified, 10‐ item instrument, and concurrently, cohorts’ levels of workplace engagement using a proprietary instrument.
Findings indicated that, in the specific context, transformational leadership behaviours among teaching academics were reportedly observed in the instructional setting, and a positive relationship was established between alumni experience of transformational classroom leadership and subsequent workplace engagement. The hypothesis that the ‘caring professor’ exhibits transformational leadership behaviours was found to be plausible. Within its limited scope, the study provides a basis for further investigation of specific forms of behavioural assessment and associated professional development frameworks within the HE environment.

Research GroupWork and Learning Research Centre
Department nameInstitute for Work Based Learning
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print11 Oct 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Oct 2017
Accepted04 Oct 2017
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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