Date of Award

8-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership

Advisor

Williams, Frankie K.

Committee Member

Cawthon , Tony W.

Committee Member

Flanigan , Jackson L.

Committee Member

Hudgins , James D.

Abstract

This study examined the ethical perspectives and leadership practices of leaders in community colleges. The participants consisted of 68 presidents and chief institutional officers from the two-year colleges in South Carolina. All participants completed the Ethics Position Questionnaire and the Leadership Practices Inventory. Demographic data were also gathered on the participants. The survey responses were collected electronically, and analyzed to determine what relationships existed between the leaders' ethical ideologies and perspectives and their leadership practices. Descriptive statistics, Pearson's Product-moment Correlation tests, and ANOVA tests were computed to examine the data. The findings from the study indicated several associations between leadership practices and ethical perspectives. Overall, the data suggested a positive relationship between the ethical ideology of idealism and effective leadership practices, and a negative relationship between the ethical ideology of relativism and effective leadership practices. In general, the results support the argument that academic leaders and policy makers should give high priority to developing, modeling, and upholding an ethical framework and aligning the institution to that framework. These findings provide insight for those interested in the scholarly debate of leadership ethics as well as for those who lead and teach leadership development programs, especially for two-year colleges. Future studies of community colleges are needed to increase understanding of the interrelationships between leadership characteristics and the core values of the institution, the organizational culture, and the effectiveness of the institution.

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