The Effects of Self-Esteem and Job Satisfaction on Leadership Aspirations among African American Educators

The Effects of Self-Esteem and Job Satisfaction on Leadership Aspirations among African American Educators

A Dissertation Proposal

Submitted to the

Faculty of Argosy University – Inland Empire Campus

American School of Professional Psychology

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of

Doctor of Education in Counseling Psychology

Kim L. Scott

March 2014

Doctoral Dissertation Research Committee Approval:

________________________________________________________________________ Committee Chair: Dr. Susan K. Foster PhD


Committee Member: Dr. Jaqueline Rasar PhD


The purpose of this paper is to un-cover the limited opportunities for African American educators to become school administrators. The primary objective of this Dissertation is to explore the self-esteem, and job satisfaction of African American educators who may aspire to become school administrators. The current totals numbers of African American in Administrative positions are alarming. This quantitative study will examine as to how aspiring African American educators feel when they find out the possibilities to become school administrators, the odds, and the actual numbers of African Americans in those positions.

Design/methodology/approach of the survey is planned as follows:

Mailing of questionnaires and obtaining answers from the participants:

The data collected would cover such information as on their aspirations, career potential, and the hopefulness that one day that they will face, as they move through their careers paths in life. There is an enormous amount of research that identifies the existence of racism within the American society, past and present. However, there is at the same time a dearth of investigative  research that focuses on how racism can affect one’s self-esteem, and how that correlates with how a person feels about their job and/or career. Especially, after many years of school, the years of living at life’s minimum level, and after humbling themselves to finally complete the degree, it is natural for them to look forward to next step of the positive possibilities. It can be a terrible blow when they find that their dream of career advancement is highly unlikely to occur, it’s a terrible jolt to their emotional health. If one doesn’t have the ability to over-look the stones that are thrown at them, this type of thing can make them feel worthless.

Practical implications- the research is a targeted effort to improve African American educators’ leadership aspirations.

Originality/value of the research: the results of the study are expected to make additional contribution to the literature through provision of important information on the effects of self-esteem and job satisfaction on Africa American educators’ leadership educators.


I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Dr. Foster, my Chair, and Dr. Rasar, my committee member for being my cheerleaders and Life coaches and standing by me throughout the darkest time in my life. My family, my sisters, is the walls that have always kept me standing, and never allowing me to fall… My uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews, who have always been on my side through thick and thin, Thanks to my lovely children, I lack words to explain the great love I have for them; I appreciate the ongoing love and support from my beautiful children. My soul mate, my husband who has always shown me unconditional love every day of our lives together; he is so special to me, has given me support to move forward in a positive direction. I love him dearly for all that he has done. I truly want to express my undeniable love to my great family. Thanks for your love, and support. Friendship is huge to me; I would like to thank two of my friends who are like angels; Mr. Lopez is awesome; he has always supported me during the good times, and the hard times, and he made sacrifices for me that only a family member would. And Mr. Brough; he is a good gentleman who has been by my side when others abandoned me. He is the real deal. They are beyond friends; they are my mentors, my inspiration, and my guiding light through rough waters. I can’t say enough about them. They are true guardian angels.


This dissertationand its insight are dedicated to my mother, Eddie Jean. She was the driving force behind everything positive in my life. She made me believe in myself, when no one else could. I think of her whenever I get ready to pursue another positive step in my life. I miss her dearly! My grandmothers; this work would not be complete without adding a special dedication to my two wonderful grandmothers (paternal and maternal) for the unconditional love they both had showered on me. They had set the spiritual foundation in my heart. They instilled the importance of family in my heart, as well. I will always love, and miss each and every one of them. When I was younger, I would never have imagined my life turning out the way it has. I thought my mother as most teen’s do- with little to offer with no understanding of my needs, and experiences. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to learn otherwise. Last but certainly not the least; I want to dedicate my dissertation to My Lord and Savior, the Jesus Christ who gives me strength. 

My favorite verses: Philippians 4:13 King James Version “Through Christ all things are possible” and John 3:16 NIV version “I am the way the truth, and the life no one comes to the father except through me” Jesus said.

Chapter one: Introduction

Problem Background

Previous research indicates that job satisfaction and self-esteem have strong correlation with individual’s leadership aspirations. Educators with low self-esteem and dissatisfied with their job affect their work performance, career aspirations and are at risk of leaving the profession. (Caprara et al, (2003); Caprara et al, (2006); Fritzsche and Parrish, (2005); Judge et al, (2001); Skaalvik and Skaalvik, (2009).

In order for African American Educators to embody leadership aspirations, McKay & Patrick, (2000) argued that high self-esteem, excellent work environment, and job satisfaction will help. All these come from: being listened to, spoken to respectfully, getting appropriate attention and affection, having accomplishment recognized, and mistakes or failures be acknowledged, and accepted. In addition, experience such as harsh criticism, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, being ignored, ridicule, teased, and expectations to be perfect all the time should be totally avoided.

A number of studies over the years have attempted at the most basic to estimate the number of African American Educator in leadership positions, (American Association of School Administrators, (AASA), (2000), Pierce, (2004), Ross, (2002). An examination of the data for promoted post of responsibilities in 22 local authorities, as well as the data for women teachers showed that 45.7 percent women in promoted posts compared to 44.2 percent were black women. However, a higher proportion of black women on the main scale were50.8 percent compared with 43.9 percent of white women. However, a much more differential situation was found in respect of male Educators. Whereas 53.5 percent of the white male teachers held promoted posts, only 47.9 percent of the black did so. Conversely, although only 31.1 percent of white male teachers were on the basic main scale, 43.8 percent of black males were on the main scale.

Ross further analyzed the proportion of heads and deputies among educators with over 15 years of experience. Among white teachers, some 10.7 percent were head teachers, and 10.1 percent deputy head teachers. Only 3.9 percent of black educators were heads, and further 7.9 percent were deputies. Restricting the sample to those who qualified, proportions showed similarly desperate picture; 7.1 percent of white teachers were head teachers compared with only 3.7 percent of black. A reflection of this supports on the possibility that Africa American educators did not apply for posts of responsibility in proportions comparable to that of their white colleagues, (Davidson et al 2005). A study of motivation for seeking promotion to senior position corroborates this claim Davidson et al surveyed 2,158 educators in England reported that white were twice as likely as black teachers to seek promotion at every opportunity.

In 2000, a survey conducted by found that 5.1 percent of superintendents were minority races, and this number has risen by a third since 1992. The distribution showed that minority were well represented in large districts. According to Rural Policy Matters, (26 August, 2010) approximately 2.6% of all district schools in United States of America were headed by African-Americans.

If this limited number of African American Educators aspiring leadership positions continues, it will make it difficult for young African American children to find role models who have been successful in the cracking of “concrete ceiling,” and this will deny them opportunity to take up leadership roles. (Marjorie Moore & Jo Jones, 2001)

Anew shift of focus to self-esteem and job satisfaction variables as impediments to African Americans’ educators aspiring for leadership may help to address the problem, and reverse the trend. The study proposes to research the feasibility of establishing the relationship between self-esteem and job satisfaction verses leadership aspirations of African American Educators (Marci & Leslie, 2010). The study will further investigate the effects of self-esteem and job satisfaction on leadership aspirations of African America educators.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this phenomenological study is to investigate the effects of self-esteem and job satisfaction on African AmericanEducators’ leadership aspirations. According to Feagin and McKinney (2003), work environment of African American educators often involve unfair promotion, no recognition, inappropriate attention, harsh criticism, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, lower salaries, and excessive discipline. Results from past studies shed light on obstacles which African American educators have to overcome in order to aspire for leadership positions. The information that will be garnered includes: participant’s age, current status, career goals and expectations, years of service, the level of HS/MS/EL, race and tenure.

Data collection process will incorporate online survey methods.

Research Hypothesis

The study is significant because it strives to debunk the hypothesis that, if I am satisfied with my job, I will have a higher self-esteem. Then I will have leadership aspirations.

Research Questions

The study will aim to answer the following questions:

R1. Does self-esteem affect a participant that aspires to be a school administrator, at the K-12 level?

R2. Does job satisfaction affect a participant that aspires to be a school administrator, at the K-12 level?

Limitations of the Study

The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of self-esteem and job satisfaction on leadership aspirations of African American educators. Correlation and hierarchical regression methods will be used as research methods to identify these relationships. However, According to Gall, Gall & Borg (2005), it is difficult to make casual inferences using co relational research design, because it limits generalization of the findings.

Delimitations of the Study

This study would focus on effects of self-esteem and job satisfaction on leadership aspirations of Africa America educators. To analyse the outcome measures, Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale was chosen, because of previous literature studies that have found RSE’s one dimensional principality, (Schmitt and Allik (2005). Also this study will adopt quantitative approach, because there is enough previous literature available on the topic.

Definition of Terms

Job satisfaction:job satisfaction is effective orientation on the part of individuals towards work roles, which they are presently occupying (Vroom. 1964)

Self-esteem:Sense of personal worth, and ability that is fundamental to individual’s identity Nathaniel Branden (1982)

Leader:According to Peter Drucker (2004)“management is doing things right; leadership in doing right things” Great leaders possess dazzling social intelligence, a zest for change , and above all , vision, that allows them to set their sights high on the things that truly merit attention.

Leadership:leadership is a process of social influence which maximizes the effort of others towards achievement of a goal (Kevin Kruse 2013).

Aspiration: According to, aspiration is something that has to do with strong desire, longing or aim; ambition

Minority Group(s) or Minorities: Minorities are defined as those individuals with self-identify as African-American, Latino, Asian or Pacific Islander, or American Native American or Alaskan Native.

Significance of the Study

The study will be significant to:

Students: this study will serve as a reference or guide to students and in addition, it will inspire them take psychology related courses to identify the psychological effects on self-esteem.

Teachers: the study will help educators to have a deeper understanding to the said self-esteem and job satisfaction factors affecting Africa American educators’ leadership aspirations

Future researchers: the study will benefit and help the future researcher as their guide. The study can also open in the scope for development of further studies.

Chapter Two

Literature Review

This chapter has six sections. Section one discusses African American educator’s development theory; what are their needs as they begin teaching career? Section two provides an overview of US school administrators. Section three describes theories of motivation. Section four explores African American educator’s job satisfaction. Section five discusses African American educators’ leadership and self-esteem. And finally section six summaries the chapter.

African American educators’ development theory

Educators exit teaching profession when they become dissatisfied due to many reasons. The stages that adults go through in life can be equated to the development stages that educators experience. Their motivation can be explained in a similar ways using same theories that explain adult’s stages which he/she encounters in life. Based on the needs of students and concerns educators felt, Fuller (1969) constructed foundational theory model, and used it to study pre-service teachers studying in universities or colleges, and in-service teachers already working. The research found that teachers at different stages were concerned with issues relating to self. Pre-service teachers were concerned with classroom issues, discipline, and performance while in-service educators were concerned with different issues such as student success and enculturation. Educators at each stage require adequate preparation and skills to address those unique concerns.

Lynn (2002) developed the eight year career educators’ cycle. The first stage is pre-service; an educator who is studying in college. The second phase is induction; these are first few years of teaching career. The third stage is building competency; here a teacher tries new methods, materials, and strategies when teaching in order to improve teaching skills and abilities. The fourth stage is enthusiasm and growth; here an educator is competent in his/her work, and enjoys his/her job. The fifth stage is career frustration where an educator is not satisfied with his/her job; at this stage, the educator experiences burn out. The sixth stage is career stability; here an educator experience patterns of maintenance, stagnation, and renewed growth. The seventh stage is career wind-down; an educator is forced to retire or ready to move on. The eighth stage is career exit; an educator leaves the profession.

Littleton (2004) developed a four stage career model of educator. These stages are fantasy, survival, disenchantment, and competency.

The fantasy stage; this refers to mental picture one has of himself/herself as an educator. It remains with individual throughout his/her life teaching profession. The survival stage; this is an experience when a new educator faces challenges in the line of work. According to Judge et al (2002), educators with high self-esteem show persistence and in the face of challenges, they are more willing to try new approaches.The disenchantment stage; this is experienced after few week as an educator and it replaces fantasy stage. The competency; this refers to the ability of the educator to balance professional and personal lives. Littleton, (2004) argues that in determining the professional development of educator, it is vital to look at the stage because each stage is unique with different concerns that influence educator preparation for successful career.

There are many studies carried out on educator career stages and their job satisfaction (Bilz, 2008; Littleton & Littleton, (2004); Lynn 2002,Kessler &Christensen, (1992); Richards, (2005).

Overview of school administrators


According to an NCES (2011) report, very small portion of principals were members of racial minority, in proportional comparison with minority student population. 18 percent were racial minority in public schools, and 11 percent in private schools.


A survey conducted in 2000 found that 5.1 percent of superintendents were minority races, and this number has risen by a third since 1992. The distribution showed that minorities were well represented in large districts. According to Rural Policy Matters 26 August, 2010 approximately 2.6% of all district schools in United States of America were headed by an African-American.

While staff increases have emerged, proportionate increases in minority principals, and other school leadership positions have not occurred. According to American Association of School Administrators (AASA,2010), 13.0 percent of U.S. Residents are African-American, while 1.2 percent is American Indian or Alaska Native, 4.9 percent are Asian American, and 2.5 percent are mixed race or other. 16.3 percent consider themselves to be Hispanic or Latino. Overall, 63.9 percent of the United States population identify themselves as Caucasian, non-Hispanic. For the purposes of this problem background, “minority” refers to any citizen who is not Caucasian, non-Hispanic; thus, 36.1% of U.S. population for the purpose of this study considered being minority.

Nevertheless, 82.4 percent of the public school principals in the United States were Caucasian, a difference of 18.5 percent compared with the general public, while only 17.6 percent, compared with 36.1 percent for a difference of 18.5 percent, were minority principals. On a national basis, 10.6 percent were African-American, and 5.3 percent were Latino. The remaining ethnic groups had less than one percent—American Native American/Alaska Native, Asian, multiple races, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, with the percentage of principals within each group lowering, respectively. Additionally, in nearly half of the states in the nation, 90 percent of the principals are Caucasian. Thus, it is safe to say that there are not enough principals of color, and the enrollment of prospective, minority principal candidates in educational preparation programs must become a high priority.

Today, one-third of black students attend school in places where the black population is more than 90 percent. A little less than half of Caucasian students attend schools that are more than 90 percent Caucasian. One-third of all black and Latino students attend high-poverty schools (where more than 75 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch); only 4 percent of Caucasian children do, and the staff mix does not correlate to these statistics (Lockette, Tim. The New Racial Segregation at Public Schools. Teaching. Minority students with a lack of minority educators, and educational administrators are affected by this lack of representation, and are subject to subtle but pervasive limitations with regard to future successes. Rates of staff mentorship, academic achievement, job satisfaction, and self-esteem are likewise a considerable concern when school staff are expected, or determined to achieve within this atmosphere of disparity.

School discipline is likewise a factor that further limits African-American, and other minority students. Federal officials are getting the word out that addressing racial disparities in school discipline is a high priority, and they plan to use “disparate-impact analysis” in enforcing school discipline cases—a legal course of action that some civil rights lawyers contend was neglected under the administration of President George W. Bush. “Regrettably, students of color are receiving different and harsher disciplinary punishments than Caucasians for the same or similar infractions, and they are disproportionately impacted by zero-tolerance policies—a fact that only serves to exacerbate already deeply entrenched disparities in many communities,” Thomas E. Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Justice, recently said at a conference on school discipline and civil rights, according to a transcript of his speech (National Disability Rights Network 2012 P&A/CAP Annual Conference).

Academic achievement has become an educational touchstone since the passage of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2001, requiring all educators – including school counselors – to formally define how their jobs and programs impact students’ academic growth, and contribute to overall school success (, The leadership of school counselors might be all we need to turn the tide. Academic Achievement.). Further, accountability in education, especially in the current context of multiple reforms and restructuring, is a rather muddled concept. One needs only listen to snippets of the current educational reform dialogue to realize that “accountability” has many meanings for political leaders, education officials, teachers, parents, community and business leaders, and the general public. Sometimes, accountability is used synonymously with “responsibility.” Other times, the term appears to refer to reporting to those with oversight authority or, more globally, to the general public; or to demonstrate compliance with established laws, rules, regulations, or standards; or to distribute rewards and sanctions tied to results.

The fundamental goals of the California Higher Educational System are to provide affordable access to higher education for all California residents, and maintain world-class research capabilities. Although it has weathered many storms over the years, including friction among the three institutions, explosive population growth, economic swings, and varying levels of support from governors and state legislatures, its mission and structure have remained essentially unchanged. It remains one of the most studied and admired higher education systems in the world (American Higher Education, Journalistic, and Policy Perspectives, from National Crosstalk.) The CDE (California Department of Education) believes that the teacher is at the heart of student academic success, and therefore, is key to closing the achievement gap between poor and minority students, and their more affluent peers. Teachers who are appropriately credentialed, have a deep understanding of the content they teach, and have been trained in a variety of instructional strategies which are in the best position to aid California students in reaching academic proficiency. The CDE is committed to ensuring that highly qualified, experienced, and effective teachers teach all students, regardless of ethnicity or socio-economic status. Equally, the CDE is committed to ensuring that every child has the same opportunity to attend a schoolunder an effective, experienced administrator (California Department of Education, Improving Teacher & Principal Quality).

Within San Bernardino County California, there are only 147 African-American Administrators in the public school system, while there are 40,490 African-American students, which is a ratio of 275 students to everyone Administrator. Within the County, the Caucasian Administrators number 968 and the Caucasian students’ number 88,199, this is a ratio of 91 students to everyone Administrator (State of California Department of Education, Dataquest, and San Bernardino County). Unfortunately, the lack of clear and consistent standards, accountability, and measures of academic achievement have negatively impacted the CDE system, and worked to negate its goals and achievements. Thus, youth who are educated through the public school system, in California and beyond, are often not receiving the modeling, representation, and quality of teaching, particularly those in low-income or urban areas. School staff and potential leaders are purported to likewise not receive modeling, mentoring, representation, and job satisfaction within this problematic situation.

US Educators demographic

According to National Centre for Education NCES report 2011, the numbers of public school teachers were 3.2 million, teaching 49.4 million learners. Survey further showed slight shifts in races. Population of white educators in 2011 was 84 percent; this represents a 7 percent decline from 1986 when population was 91 percent. Report indicated that other than African American, Population of non-white educators is growing very fast.

Also alternate programs to teaching profession were found to be bringing many educators to profession at 87 percent compared with traditional methods. Racial examination shows that 30 percent white, 15 percent Hispanic, 11 percent Africa America, and 4 percent other races enter the profession through Alternate program.

Motivational theories

Maslow’s Motivational Theory 197

This theory describes hierarchy of human needs. The theory developed a pyramid of needs with bottom of pyramid representing physiological needs; basic needs such as food, water, and air. For survival, these needs must be met first before an individual can seek higher needs.

According to Maslow, safety and security needs come second in the pyramid after physiological needs. The third category of needs in the pyramid is love and sense of belonging. This include relationship with family members, relatives, children end an entire community. The esteem need comes fourth. Maslow categorized esteem needs in to lower and higher esteem needs. Lower esteem needs include fame, recognition, attention, and respect of others while higher esteem needs entails needs for self-respect, confidence, achievement, mastery, and freedom. The top most layer in the pyramid is self-actualization; this involves desire to realize full potential. According to Maslow, higher needs can only be satisfied when lower need has been satisfied.

Herzberg’s two-factor Theory

Herzberg conducted series of interviews involving more than 200 professional engineers and accountants from eleven industries. Participants were asked to identify what made them satisfied, and unsatisfied on their jobs. Data from the study led to development of hygiene and motivating factors affecting behavior differently. Hygiene factors relate to work environment; hygiene maintenance represents Maslow’s lower needs in the pyramid. Motivator factors produce positive impact on job satisfaction, as for example, feeling of achievement, recognition, and career growth. In comparison with Maslow higher needs, goal attainment, responsibility, and growth Motivators satisfied physiological needs. Herzberg (2003) claimed that creativity as a result of motivators, while the need for fair treatment arises due to hygiene factors; this is the appropriate measure that must be taken to enhance positive job attitude, and good performance. It is important in improving job satisfaction and prevention of job dissatisfaction.

Leadership and Self-esteem

Leadership is an aspect of group behavior. Wallace et al (2002) suggested that leadership correlate with self esteem. High self- esteem gives a person confidence and initiative to aspire to be a leader, and take charge, make wise decisions under pressure and uncertainty, and expect followers to back his decision. A leader engenders a sense of personal superiority which increases self-esteem.

Arndt and Goldenberg (2002) observed that performance of people with high self-esteem sometimes are better than those with low-self-esteem ; by speaking up more and are recognized by others. However, there is a weak correlation between self-esteem and leadership aspirations, people with high self-esteem are tend to be more judgmental than people with low self-esteem.

Aberson et al (2000) observed that people with low self-esteem tend to lower standards of their aspirations when faced with challenges; on severe occasion they withdraw completely from the task when they receive negative feedback, conversely, individuals with high self-esteem when face challenges tend to exert more effort to meet their aspiration standards. Korman (1970) found that self-esteem largely contributes to the promotion and developed self-consistency theory. The theory predicts that persons with high self-esteem tend to choose occupations that are in line with their personal interest, which therefore leading to high level of job satisfaction. Broadly, the theory predicts that through behaviors and cognitions, people with high self-esteem reinforce their self-concept. Positive self-concept allows the person to perform well in work leading to promotion. Furthermore (Mark 2005) backed this view; people with high self-esteem tend to be optimistic. Optimistic individuals adapt easily to work related challenges; there is strong correlation between optimism and promotion.

You must love yourself before loving others is a popular wisdom of self esteem. According to Campbell (2002), there have been significant efforts to boost self–esteem in the work place, homes and schools and this would be justified if they resulted in improving relationships among people. Clement et al (2002) reported that self-esteem exists in the mind; individuals with high self-esteem claim that they are more popular, and have high social skills than the rest; however objective measures fail to support this claim, and in some cases points out to thecontrary. When measured, people with high self-esteem are not better than those with low self-esteem and when this is disclosed to them, they are likely to become antagonistic, and exude negative emotions.

Chemers, et al (2000) published Leadership Among Military Cadets; the cadets understudy were followed over a period of time (special summer program , leadership training etc); variables measures of rating were adopted; by peers, rating by military professors , objective performance of two leadership and non-leadership tasks. The results showed correlation with self- esteem. That is to say, self-esteem predicted peer