Ethical dilemmas: The 'bread' and 'butter' of educational leaders' lives

Cranston, Neil, Ehrich, Lisa and Kimber, Megan (2006) Ethical dilemmas: The 'bread' and 'butter' of educational leaders' lives. Journal of Educational Administration, 44 2: 106-121. doi:10.1108/09578230610652015

Author Cranston, Neil
Ehrich, Lisa
Kimber, Megan
Title Ethical dilemmas: The 'bread' and 'butter' of educational leaders' lives
Journal name Journal of Educational Administration   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0957-8234
Publication date 2006-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1108/09578230610652015
Volume 44
Issue 2
Start page 106
End page 121
Total pages 16
Editor A. R. Thomas
Place of publication Bingley, United Kingdom
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Language eng
Subject 330104 Educational Policy, Administration and Management
Formatted abstract
Purpose –
The purpose of this paper is to report on research into the ethical dilemmas faced by school heads from seven independent schools in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach –
Data for the research were gathered by semi-structured in-depth interviews with the Heads, all of whom were experienced school leaders. All the schools had religious affiliations.

Findings –
The findings are broadly consistent with the conclusions reached in other Australian and international studies dealing with school leaders which suggest that ethical dilemmas, usually concerning issues to do with staff or students, are so common now that they have become the “bread and butter” of educational leaders' lives. The findings contribute to a better understanding of the struggles school leaders experience when faced with such dilemmas and the forces at play as they seek to resolve them Typically, the dilemmas are not about “right” versus “wrong”, but “right” versus “right” options.

Research limitations/implications –
It is clear that the ethical dimensions of the work of school leaders require further investigation as ethical dilemmas are almost a daily occurrence for them as they strive to make complex decisions in the best interests of their school communities.

Practical implications –
Professional development in the areas of ethics and ethical decision-making for school leaders is indicated. Problem-based learning offers potential in this regard.

Originality/value –
The research reported in the paper adds to, and builds on, the growing body of research into ethics in education, particularly how ethical issues emerge when school leaders are required to make complex decisions in contexts where individual, group and organisational interests may be in conflict.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
2007 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Education Publications
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 23 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 21 Dec 2007, 11:27:12 EST by Thelma Whitbourne on behalf of School of Education