Date of Award

12-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership

Advisor

Flanigan, Jackson

Committee Member

Campbell , Mike

Committee Member

Marion , Russ

Committee Member

Olson , Laura

Abstract

Ethical dilemmas, situations involving a conflict between values or principles, often arise when employees of school districts violate laws or professional codes of behavior. Ethical dilemmas also occur when there are inequities in educational programming, resulting in missed opportunities for students. This qualitative study, conducted with the grounded theory research methodology, analyzed school district superintendents' responses to ethical dilemmas experienced in the course of their professional career. Critical influences on the decision-making process and the ethical frameworks utilized by participants were examined. A 'Model of Superintendents' Responses to Ethical Dilemmas' was developed and participants' stories were used to elucidate the model. The tacit knowledge shared by participants in the study can be helpful to practicing and aspiring school district superintendents as they seek to become more attuned to the pressures and barriers that influence the ethical decision-making process and help them to become more aware of their own approach to ethical decision-making.

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