A Leader-Member Exchange Approach to Understanding School Counselors' Roles, Job Satisfaction, and Turnover Intentions

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elysia Versen Clemens (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Craig Cashwell

Abstract: The services and interventions that school counselors provide, how they spend their time, and the focus and scope of the programs that they implement contribute to how school counselors' roles are defined. School counselors have struggled to define their roles in accordance with their beliefs about school counseling (Hutchinson, Barrick, & Groves, 1986; Mustaine, Pappalardo, & Wyrick, 1996; Partin, 1993; Scarborough & Culbreth, in press), in alignment with best practice recommendations (ASCA, 2005; Burnham & Jackson, 2000: Carter, 1993: Scarborough & Culbreth, in press), and in competition with stakeholders' beliefs (Jackson et al., 2002; Paisley & Borders, 1995). Although the profession has made considerable strides in defining what school counselors' role should be (ASCA, 2005), individual school counselors continue to struggle with defining their role in their districts and buildings (Rayle, 2006; Scarborough & Culbreth in press). Role definition has implications for school counselors as well as the stakeholders they serve. When school counselors face challenges to their role, some may become dissatisfied, choose to leave the profession, or acquiesce to providing services that are inconsistent with their beliefs about best practice (Baker, 2000). As a result, the needs of students and school communities may not be met (Scarborough & Culbreth, in press). Leader-member exchange (LMX) theory is a framework for considering how school counselors' roles are defined at building level and exploring factors that may impact school counselors' job satisfaction and turnover intentions. LMX theory is grounded in the belief that the quality of the relationship and interactions between a superior (principal) and subordinate (school counselor) influence how subordinates' roles are defined (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1991; 1995). Further, there is evidence that superior-subordinate relationships (Gerstner & Day, 1997; Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995) and role definition (Baggerly & Osborn, 2006; Baker, 2000) may affect school counselor job satisfaction and turnover intentions. The primary purpose of this study was to assess the relevance of LMX theory (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995) as the foundation for explaining variance in important school counselor outcomes: role definition, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions. A model, grounded in LMX theory, was developed. Path analysis was used to test the fit of the hypothesized model. Fit statistics from multiple families indicated that the model fit the data well. The model explained 15% of the variance in how school counselors' roles are defined at the building level, 49% of the variance in school counselors' job satisfaction, and 20% of the variance in school counselors' turnover intentions.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
School counseling, school counselors' roles, principals, leader-member exchange theory, advocacy, job satisfaction, turnover intentions
Educational counseling--Evaluation
Educational counseling--Administration
Educational counseling--Job satisfaction

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