Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Degree Granting Department
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Judith A. Ponticell, Ph.D.
Tanetha Fisher, Ph.D.
Joyce Haines, Ph.D.
John Mann, Ed.D.
decision processes, ethical paradigms, school leadership
Researchers and practitioners in educational leadership have used multiple ethical paradigms, such as ethics of care, critique, community, and the profession, to better understand how ethical decisions are made (Dempster et al., 2004). Research in this field noted a gap in ethical leadership skills possessed by leaders and addressed ways in which leaders could gain these skills (Begley & Stefkovich, 2007; Langlois & Lapointe, 2010; Mullen, 2017). But, how do leaders come to understand ethical leadership and decision making, particularly in the context of a particular school or district?
This study used a qualitative, phenomenological design with the researcher incorporating an autoethnographic approach to examine how a group of interrelated high school administrators came to understand ethical leadership in one school district. Semi-structured interviews were used to engage these leaders in thinking about, reflecting on, and talking about their perceptions of ethical leadership, how they came to understand ethical leadership and decision making, and the factors that influenced this understanding in the district.
Results indicated that this group of administrators used a framework developed through one of the participants to guide thinking and to understand the impact of ethical decision making. This thinking process, along with experiences, other leaders, and reflective conversations, were factors that contributed to the participants’ understanding of ethical leadership and its influence on the decisions they made.
Scholar Commons Citation
Mclain, Samuel A., "Ethical Leadership and Decision Making: Learning from the Perspectives of Experienced High School Administrators" (2021). USF Tampa Graduate Theses and Dissertations.