Transformational instructor-leadership and academic performance: a moderated mediation model of student engagement and structural distance

  • Paul T. Balwant, Kamal Birdi, Ute Stephan, Anna Topakas
  • Journal of Further and Higher Education, January 2018, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/0309877x.2017.1420149

Transformational instructor-leadership and student engagement and performance

What is it about?

Transformational leadership theory has been used as a framework for higher education teaching. Studies using this framework have generally focused on a direct association between transformational instructor-leadership and students' outcomes. However, we have shown that transformational instructor-leadership is related to students' academic performance via the mechanism of student engagement. We have used a sample of 183 students across the UK to confirm the proposed mediation effect.

Why is it important?

Our findings show that student engagement is a key mechanism in the relationship between transformational instructor-leadership and students' academic performance. Furthermore, we empirically examine the full concept of student engagement, rather than one or two dimensions as in previous studies.


Dr. Paul T. Balwant
University of the West Indies

While I have published a few papers based on my PhD dissertation, this one is based on the 'meat' of my dissertation. My co-authors deserve tremendous praise for their always helpful suggestions and input in this paper. They all went far beyond the call of any supervisor, and are now dear friends to me. I hope that the present paper can stimulate further research, not just in instructor-leadership, but also on leader distance (a topic which we barely 'scratched the surface').

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr. Paul T. Balwant and Professor Ute Stephan