Influence of Political Skills of School Heads on the Organizational Culture of Public Elementary Schools

Master's Thesis, 2019

66 Pages, Grade: 1.5


Table of contents

Research Objectives
Review of Related Literature
Political Skills
Organizational Culture
Correlation between Measures
Theoretical Framework
Conceptual Framework
Significance of the Study
Definition of Terms

Research Design
Research Locale
Research Instrument
Data Collection





Chapter 1



The culture of an organization plays a very important role in the realization of its goals and programs. Amidst the diversity of the backgrounds, beliefs and cultures of the different individuals, leaders are the prime initiators of placing things in order. It is inevitable that organizations face challenges, both from the internal and external environment that organizations have to embrace. However, in the organizational culture, there are situations that the members of an organization are in conflict, leading to the display of anger in the public and even shouting at each other which destroy the unity and team work of the members. This organizational conflict as to the culture of the individuals should be taken into consideration by the leaders (Watson, 2006; Dorczak, 2011).

On the other hand, an organization is a common place where individuals work in unison to gain profit and livelihood for each other. The place where individuals’ goals is to realize their dreams is called an organization. Every organization has its unique style when contributing to its culture. Organizational culture was contribution from individuals’ beliefs, ideologies, principles and values. As posted by Rick (2015), to achieve highly successful organization and extraordinary workplace one must know the important building blocks which make up organizational culture. He added that the most important thing about culture is that it is the only sustainable point of difference for any organization. In educational organization it is agreed that the culture or norms of perspective is the best and only acceptable one from the point of view of the main aim of school, such as support and individual development (Dorczak, 2011).

In educational organization, it is believed that the political skill of the school leaders has something to do with the culture of the organization. Political skill of leaders can play a role for a better performance of organization which may include leading change in organizational culture more effectively (Cheema, 2007). A healthy culture is indeed dependent on the type of leader who spearheads the plans and directions of the group. People in an organization react according to how the leaders motivate them and how they are being ushered to collaboration to realize the goals and objectives of the organization that they are in. In most cases, the satisfaction of the members of the organization is the consequence on the political leadership projected by the school head (Dorczack, 2011; Brown, 2004).

It is in this context that the researcher was interested to determine whether political skills of school heads influenced the organizational culture of public elementary schools, as this can affect the intended beneficiaries of this study. Unfortunately, the lack of political skills of school heads influence research in local setting has created a gap in understanding the organizational culture that can contribute to school effectiveness and even culture. This study therefore attempts to bridge the gap and to build-up the political skills of school heads and develop their leadership skills to improve organizational culture in their respective schools.

Research Objectives

The main purpose of the study was to determine which domain of political skills of school heads best influence the organizational culture of public elementary schools in Maragusan District. Specifically, it geared towards answering the following objectives:

1. To describe the level of political skills of school heads in terms of:
1.1. social astuteness;
1.2. interpersonal influence;
1.3. networking ability; and
1.4. apparent sincerity.

2. To ascertain the level of organizational culture in public schools of Maragusan District in terms of:
2.1. managing change;
2.2. achieving goals;
2.3. coordinated teamwork;
2.4. customer orientation; and
2.5. cultural strength.

3. To determine the significant relationship between political skills of school heads and organizational culture in public elementary schools in Maragusan District.

4. To determine which domain of political skills of school heads best influences the organizational culture in public elementary schools in Maragusan District.


The following null hypotheses were tested at the 0.05 level of significance:

1. There is no significant relationship between political skills of school heads and organizational culture in public elementary schools.
2. No domain of political skills of school heads best influences the organizational culture in public elementary schools.

Review of Related Literature

The purpose of a literature review is to present an argument with current, relevant academic literature to support the research. It will also shed light and show the need for the research topic. Thus, to have vivid context on this study, several significant and relevant information, issues, opinions and topics from different authors are presented. To provide a clear background necessary in the course of this study, relevant information and views and other related topics from well-known authorities are presented. The researcher focused on the political skills of school heads and organizational culture in public elementary schools in the Maragusan District.

The independent variable of the study is the political skills of the school heads in terms of social astuteness, interpersonal influence, networking ability, and apparent sincerity (Ferris, Treadway, Kolodinsky, Hochwarter, Kacmar, Douglas, & Frink, 2005). On the other hand, the dependent variable is the organizational culture of public elementary schools as indicated by Sashkin and Rosenbach (1996). Its indicators are managing change, achieving goals, coordinated teamwork, customer orientation and cultural strength.

Political Skills

There are four political skills leaders have to manifest every day, namely: astuteness, interpersonal influence, networking ability, and apparent sincerity (Ferris et al., 2005). Leaders of today are being challenged with so many obstacles that they need to face. These challenges include working with, understanding, influencing, and motivating others, to build an environment with good ambiance, harmony and understanding. To attain employee commitment and engagement to work is also considered as a big challenge to the leaders. Thus, political skills come into the organization three decades ago, in order to introduce a system where the employees and management can work together in unity and harmony (Pfeffer, 1981; Mintzberg, 1985; Bolman & Deal, 2017).

Furthermore, political skill is indispensable for the organization to succeed. Organizational politics has become a medium to persuade, manipulate and transfer change from some undesirable behavior in an organization. However, research about political skill is dormant until Ferris and his colleagues have come up with a program of research designed to begin a more comprehensive concept of this issue (Ferris, Berkson, Kaplan, Gilmore, Buckley, Hochwarter & Witt, 1999; Ferris, Treadway, Kolodinsky, Hochwarter, Kacmar, Douglas & Frink, 2005; Ferris, Treadway, Perrewé, Brouer, Douglas & Lux, 2007).

Further research by Ahearn, Ferris, Hochwarter, Douglas and Ammeter (2004) defined political skill as the ability of the leaders to understand the behavior of other people and make use of the art of leading to influence them to act in ways to help develop and enhance the growth and progress of an organization. Political skill exhibits a calm self-confidence, which enables the team to have a sense of control and understanding of the direction of the organization. This will enable the members to attain balance of work and personal opportunities (Pfeffer, 1981; Mintzberg, 1985, Ferris et al., 2005).

In addition, political skill is distinct to each leader. Thus, political skill is unique in its sense, since the leader has to fit to the kind of people and environment that he is in. This precise but flexile construct is appropriate for the individuals in the work place. It is more on understanding the behavior of the members and knowing the capacity of each to ensure that each one can function according to what the organization needs. Political leaders have to make sure that the direction of the members is of advantage to all (Ferris et al., 1999; Ferris et al., 2005). On the other hand, being political, leaders are people who are trusting in nature and know that each one has a role to play and that each has an intertwined contribution to project.

The first domain is the social astuteness of a leader. Individuals who possess this political skill are leaders who are sensitive to the needs of the members of the society. They are aware of the social diversity and are attuned to the practices of the members. They understand social activities and are able to interpret behavior and practices in their work place. These leaders have very strong self-awareness and personal judgment. A socially astute leader is sensitive to the needs of others and is able to understand and identify what the group needs to attain the objectives (Pfeffer, 1992). Socially astute individuals are smart in dealing with others. They are keen observers of their social environment and are able to manifest understanding not only of the internal environment but also of the external factors that might affect the practices of the organization. Socially astute individuals can effectively carry out the societal challenges and can deal well with the problems that confront the organization (Bolman & Deal, 2017).

Similarly, astute leaders are keen observers of the environment and are aware of the situations that they are into. They have personal awareness of their feelings and actions and are able to interpret them not only for their personal interest but also for the awareness of the people in the organization. These qualities have led the leaders to easily influence others and make positive impression of their leadership. A socially astute leader is prominent in giving contributions to the teams’ image, plans and programs towards the attainment of the goals. When the leader is socially astute, he can easily entice others to be with the organization and makes changes as they perform the tasks accorded to them (Pfeffer, 1992).

In general, a leader with social awareness knows the actions of others and are able to apply skills in order to influence them to do something good for the organization. They know how to make positive impression and entice the members to get going in achieving the goals. Social awareness understands the weaknesses of others and find ways to improve the weaknesses to turn them into strengths which could be an advantage to the group. With the behavior manifested by the social astute leaders, they can easily penetrate the values of the members in an organization and make some means in order to make the effort of the team advantageous to everyone’s concerns (Ferris et al., 2005; Gentry & Kuhnert, 2007; Pentland, 2013).

The second domain is the interpersonal influence, which reflects a leader who knows how to deal with others well. These leaders possess good communication skills and are able to entice others to function based on how the leaders speak to them. Also, the leaders who have interpersonal influence are flexible individuals, in which they know how to adapt to the culture of the members and the culture that they are in. Politically skilled individuals have the ability to see people in different ways. They can calculate the attitude of the members and know how to handle them in such a way that everything shall be placed in order (Gentry & Leslie, 2013).

Similarly, leaders who are good in interpersonal relationship have the charm to influence others. They can establish rapport and are able to influence the members easily through the way they speak to them. Skilled influencers are not always overtly political; they just play the political game fairly and effortlessly. Effective influencers build stronger interpersonal relationships and have good rapport with others, while the managers are comfortable in dealing with them particularly when they present plans for action by the leaders (Braddy & Campbell, 2014).

The third domain is the networking ability. Leaders who are good in networking are good in establishing linkages and in connecting with people. They believe that networking is necessary to be successful in the organization, since, the group needs support from the external stakeholders. These types of leaders can easily find friends and are able to establish connections easily. Furthermore, these leaders can also establish big opportunities for themselves and for the organization as well. Finally, they are being regarded as skilled negotiators and dealmakers, and expert in conflict management (Kolodinsky, Hochwarter & Ferris, 2004).

Similarly, the politically skilled are capable of effectively handling conflict and negotiations, which strengthens the strong bonds of partnership. They can form well with others. Politically skilled individuals are adept relationship builders, able to forge strong bonds for friendships, alliances, and coalitions. This allows the politically skilled to develop and maintain vast networks of individuals that can ultimately help them achieve their goals. Further, the politically skilled know how to influence their networks by ensuring that they are connected to influential others and that they are in a position to receive and generate opportunities (Gentry & Kuhnert, 2007; Pentland, 2013).

Additionally, leaders with good networking ability often regarded as partners of the community. In most cases, they have stablished strong connections with the stakeholders and are able to establish programs through the collaboration with them. Leaders with good networking skills are also good in influencing things to happen immediately for they have clearly spoken to them the objectives of the organization. In this case, leaders calculate on their networking ability to produce support to the success of the team (Pfeffer, 1992).

In general, leaders who have good networking skills gain support, camaraderie and confidence from the people they deal with. These leaders use their skills to ensure that the programs and plans of the organization are dealt well by the team. This is one way of gaining friendship and strong partnership with the stakeholders (Raelin, 2006).

The fourth and last domain in political skills is apparent sincerity. Leaders who are politically skilled individuals possess honesty, sincerity and integrity. Individuals high in apparent sincerity inspire trust and confidence in and from those around them, because their actions are not interpreted as manipulative or coercive. Influence attempts will be successful when actors are perceived to possess no ulterior motives (Bolman & Deal, 2017).

In addition, apparent sincerity is a skill allowing one person to hide his/her ulterior motives. This skill would increase the level of integrity and genuineness. Apparent sincerity is a crucial dimension of political skill if influence attempts are going to be successful, because it focuses on the perceived intentions of the behavior exhibited. Seen expectations or thought processes by the leaders are critical and have been contended to change the process of an organization. In addition, leaders who are sincere are regarded as open, honest, and authentic. They are also sincere in dealing with individuals. These leaders are being positioned and easily promoted because they are perceived to be individuals who can manipulate and influence the team with their charm and leadership (Ammeter, Douglas, Gardner, Hochwater, Ferris, 2002; Ferris et al., 2005; Brosky, 2011; Braddy & Campbell, 2014).

In summary, politically skilled leaders are individuals who can gain the confidence and trust of their members. They are also leaders who can persuade their members to act according to the targets of the organization and who are able to establish linkages for the growth of the organization and for more opportunities to come to the team (Ferris et al., 2005). Minztberg (1983) also added that political skill is a pre-requisite of success. He also added that to become a successful leader, one should possess good political skill that can create a harmonious and healthy working environment.

Politically skilled leaders are characterized by four behaviors; social astuteness, interpersonal influence, networking ability and apparent sincerity. Mastering these four skills can improve an organization’s performance and improve leaders’ own chances of career advancement. Political skills of school heads is seen to be a predictor of the work performance and attitudes of teachers (Ozcan, Karatas, Caglar & Polat, 2014). School heads should appreciate their functions and rules in maintaining harmonious culture because the fundamental values of any organization begin with its leaders. Strong and healthy organizational culture will be manifested if values, beliefs and unified behaviors of everyone in an organization will be developed. Political skills can be a productive force in a school organizational culture.

Organizational Culture

Organizational culture is based on the premise that every undertaking is based on commitment. This gives the organization the direction and plan on how to hit the targets set by the organization (Crires Bulletin, 1994). There are five dimensions needed by all organizations to survive for any substantial length of time. These are managing change, achieving goals, coordinated teamwork, cultural strength and customer orientation (Sashkin & Rosenbach, 1996; Trone, 2002).

Organizational culture refers to the values shared by the members of the group. These are the cultures and standards which people embrace and are into knowing the standards, so they can play well in achieving the objectives of the group. Specifically, organizational culture involved shared philosophies, ideologies, beliefs, feelings, assumptions, expectations, attitudes, norms and values. For years now, institutions studying organizations believe that the purpose of establishing good leadership is to manage the team and come up with an effective output or outcome (Schein, 2004; Watson 2006; Schein, 2011).

Furthermore, organizational culture reflects the values, beliefs and behavioral norms evident in an organization. These are the behaviors and attitudes that have been manifested by the members of an organization. This includes how they react to the challenges they meet and what influences them to act and react to every situation. Knowing the culture, belief and behavior of the members can reduce conflict and commotion within a group (Hatch, 2015; Mallari & Santiago, 2016).

The first domain in organizational culture is managing change. The school administrator occupies a strategic position in the school system, a position which importance centers on the fact that it is the school system. School administrators must translate the efficient and effective administration and management of the school concept into vibrant reality. To have better schools, one must be flexible in dealing with change. School administrators must be effective to meet the challenges of the times, which is characterized by rapid social and cultural changes brought about by the unprecedented technological innovations and advancement. There is a need to emphasize some strategies in education policy that geared toward improving the educational status. In talking of school reform, technology in and of itself is not the solution to our educational problems but it is an essential part (Robbins & Coulter, 2010; Bernabe, 2016).

Correspondingly, leaders should endeavor to obtain sympathy that will upgrade their own practices in overseeing change inside the organization. This social sign is the creative projection of one's cognizance into another being. As generally utilized, it is the ability to take an interest in another's sentiments or thoughts. Powerful instructive pioneers apathetically watch and follow the reasons for occasions. Correcting failures or any misconception require passionate strength. Judgments made ought to be founded on gathered realities and ought never to be polluted with preference. Validity makes instructive pioneers deserving of help and acclaim. It is confirmed in what you do and say in relational relationship in the framework. Authority is just "rousing individuals to act toward an objective through great relational abilities. The specialty of imparting plays a lot in persuading individuals to perform adequately and persistently. A great system is a fundamental factor in the achievement of an objective. This requires the capacity to work with others amicably, through it sets aside opportunity to build up a culture of congruity in a working environment. For the most part, it is trusted that the chairman must inspire the subordinates to deal with the designated obligation and specialty. Positive inspiration, rather than negative ought to be given (Trone, 2002; O’Donnell & Boyle, 2008; Bernabe, 2016).

The second domain is achieving goal which is needed in an organization. Achieving goals is a value of strong leaders. These leaders based their work on the focal customer of learning and educating the school. These leaders are moral specialists and social advocators for the youngsters and the network they serve. Also, they make a solid association with other individuals, esteeming and thinking about differences as an individual and as an individual from the instructive network. Leaders should realize how to persuade their subordinates to achieve instructions by setting the pace for their execution. They should give them the vital impetuses to give their devotion and participation to him and to the organization. Subordinates received the coveted objectives as requested by higher administration to the necessities of their occupations, had intensive consciousness of the activity and very much familiar with the capacities of subordinates (Elnar, 2014).

Moreover, there is really a need to emphasize strategies in education policy that geared toward improving the educational status. In considering school change, innovation all by itself isn't the answer for our instructive issues yet it is a basic part. The school administrator possesses a key position in the educational system, a position whose significance focuses on the fact that it is the educational system. Thus, the school head must be compelling and adequate to address the difficulties of times, which is described by fast social and social changes achieved by the remarkable mechanical developments and headway. School directors are required who can interpret the productive and successful organization and administration of the school idea into dynamic reality (Mallari & Santiago, 2016).

Likewise, one of the considerations why teachers are motivated to work is the behavior and attitude of the school head. Teachers need to be clarified with the goals and objectives of the organization, so they will be guided as well with the things they need to do. Having a pleasant relationship with the teachers is akin to a harmonized and united community (Aquino, 2002; Bernabe, 2016).

The third domain is coordinated teamwork which is necessary in any organization. It is concurred that sorted out joint effort acquires appreciation and change agreement with the social practices. This would urge the will to investigate best systems to perform work versus the essential errand of the affiliation. Legitimate climate gives quality social relations, workplaces, calling progression, chance taking, and personal development. Inhibitory air covers improvement and undertakings the delegate's aptitude (Kolb, 1994; Robbins & Sanghi, 2007).

The success or failure of plans and activities is dependent on the teamwork and unity of the people (O’Farrell, 2006). It is indispensable that the spirit of coordination be introduced to the members as part of their induction and orientation so that they will be guided on whom to connect and what to link with the team. Similarly, the teachers’ greatest strength is their sensitivity to the feelings and needs of the people with which they work. To motivate his/her subordinates, the school administrator must coordinate with the teachers and the staff. The vivid portrait of a school as an extended family has a principal who focuses on meeting and knowing the teachers’ need. He expresses coordination with the team and constructive feedback to promote both satisfaction and growth. The principal listens and keeps teachers and students improved their personal strengths and weaknesses (Cranston, 2002; Olalekan, 2007).

More so, effective leaders play an important role in improving the teachers’ morale. School heads should act both a leader and a companion to set up affinity and create amicable relationship among his staff. School heads should build great human association with their educators. Great connection among heads and educators are nearly connected with better and more successful school organizations. Numerous educators these days indicate an appearance of dread towards their school managers and chiefs. They feel that principals visit and watch their classes just to discover their shortcomings and deficiencies. Then again, educators discover satisfaction and bliss in their work in the event that they believe they are being regarded, adored and perceived by their overseer. The sort of authority conduct that the manager showed can pretty much contribute and influence the work atmosphere of educators (Mulford, 2003; Tsai, 2011).

Similarly, communication efforts in teamwork are usually indispensable to clarify the values, policies, and objectives of the organization. Leaders must explain the strategic use of external communication and it should be made clear to the members and the clients that it is important to share and open-up issues so that dissatisfaction is minimized and eventually come up with an effective result. It is true that the success of an organization depends on top management down to rank-in-file employees of the company as to how they communicate within the system. Effective communication is a tool of leadership. In the government sector where local communities are the direct public clients, simple but straightforward communications of public services and policy issues must be done. It is not only important that employees understand the job, duties and the performance in which they are to be achieved but, also the programs and the targets of the organizations of which they are part of and the means by which they can contribute to help realize these (Miranda & Pavon, 2012).

The fourth domain is customer orientation. Effective leaders are customer oriented. They manifest inspiring motivation and use group participation and effective communication to attain friendly and desirable relationships. The leaders should always remind the group that it is not impossible to attain good output when one is working collaboratively (Iñigo, Crego, Dauder & Bilbao, 2012; Bernabe, 2016).

Congruently, in any work of association, especially educational system; it is constantly clear that objectives can be accomplished when there is a normal state of human relations among school directors, educators and partners. It is reality that positive client introduction is a compelling resource of an association. Compelling inner correspondences and client introduction are the essential for mix and congruity in any authoritative administration exercises. Inward correspondence isn't just about procedure, it has to do with the administrator's tuning in to workers and accepting criticism about the customers' view of the association execution on its essential quality measurement (Louis, 2007; Arlestig, 2008; Leo & Wickenberg, 2013).

The fifth and last domain in organizational culture is cultural strength. A major source of satisfaction is the motivation. In an organization, members should be given more satisfaction by way of knowing their needs, problems, interest and even giving them the proper climate to share and respect their ideas to enhance a healthy and meaningful organization. It is noted that good management of routine tasks leads to effective performance of the work of both the administrator and teachers. Apparently, it improves relationship of the two as miscommunication is lessened. It eliminates hassles which are usually common in work stations and moreover, time wastage is solved. Cultural strength may be indirectly related to high job performance. If satisfaction improves motivation in organization, employees as well can benefit from satisfaction derived from group membership (Louis, 2007; Heathfield, 2014).

In addition, work ethics motivate human workers to believe that work responsibility is for physical, social and economic interests of both individual workers and the organization system. This benefits the whole organization when employees appreciate the value of working, they are happy and satisfied. If workers are not happy, it means problems for the organization. If happy, employees work on time; do a good job and volunteer suggestions for the improvement of the job; and positively react to supervision. Such work behavior results in productivity and work development. If workers are not happy, it means problems for the organization. These are manifested in bad image of the organization, poor delivery of public services and a lot of workers’ complaints against each other and the organization in general (Luneburg, 2011; Arifin, Entang & Gani, 2013).

Congruently, a loyal workforce can be a significant competitive advantage. Subordinates with high levels of commitment are staying longer in the organization. Higher motivation and organizational citizenship are expected from the motivated employees. The teacher must be dedicated, hardworking and flexible. He must do everything in his power to be efficient and effective so that the students learning could be an investment in the development of the society (Louis, 2007; Arlestig, 2008; Leo & Wickenberg, 2013).

Further, effective internal communications are the requisite for integration and harmony in the service organizations activities. Internal communication is not just about strategy, it has to do with manager’s listening to employees and receiving feedback about the clients’ perception of the organization performance on its fundamental quality dimension in any work of organization, particularly school system; it is always evident that goals can be achieved when there is a high level of human relations of school administrators among members of the group. It is reality that positive relationship is an effective asset of leadership (Miranda & Pavon, 2012).

Likewise, classroom teachers are supposed to be committed to their work, since they are the front liners in the teaching-learning process. Teachers must work harmoniously with the group and should engage in a work that is collaboratively done by the members of the organization. Furthermore, a teacher can elicit cooperative spirit and selfless sharing of resources among the members. The desire to work for a common good is a social trait that must be exemplified through the teacher’s dealings with the group (Schlechty, 2002; Arifin et al., 2013).

Organizational culture has been considered a powerful force in the success of an organization. This where the members give their share and engage their talents to contribute to the group’s success. In culture, an individual shares ideas, talents and efforts so that each of the entities is being developed that is a product of all the efforts of the group. Every organization develops and maintains a unique culture, which provides guidelines and sets boundaries for the expected behavior of each members of the organization. Beliefs, values and expectation come from different understanding and feelings of different individual (Ivancevich, Konopaske & Matteson, 2005).


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Influence of Political Skills of School Heads on the Organizational Culture of Public Elementary Schools
University of Mindanao  (Davao city)
Master of Arts in Educational Management
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Educational management, political skills, school heads, public elementary schools, Philippines0
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Charlene Jalamana (Author), 2019, Influence of Political Skills of School Heads on the Organizational Culture of Public Elementary Schools, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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