AN ANALYSIS OF THE ETHICAL DECISION-MAKING PROCESS FOR EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATORS
Tarleton State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Almost daily, educational administrators face many difficult challenges in meeting the needs of students in their communities, especially when dealing with ethical dilemmas. Historically, groups and individuals have struggled to apply ethical principles in an ever changing environment where the understanding of what is “right or wrong” has seldom been absolute and most often has been relative. Aristotle’s "Golden Mean" proposed that the greatest happiness was the ultimate good not only for the individual, but the community as well. Ethical dilemmas or situations present ambivalent messages that require school leaders to critically examine their beliefs about what is right and good. Herein has been the daily dilemma for public school leaders. Because ethical decision making is such an integral part to being an effective school leader, assessing the thinking process was important to understanding how leaders see ethical dilemmas. The problem was to determine if the thought process changed or was impacted by campus leadership experience and participation in a class that studied ethics.
In order to assess the Ethical IQ's of school leaders, two groups were selected for participation in the study. The first group of participants, Group A (N=42) was enrolled in a principal degree/certification program at a regional university in Texas. The second group of participants, Group B (N=37) was enrolled in additional coursework in educational leadership (superintendent courses or doctoral courses in educational leadership) at the same university and had taken a course in ethics and philosophy, as well as serving as a campus leader (principal). Each group was asked to complete the ten item Ethical IQ Test (modified for school leaders). Their scores were calculated using Henderson's (1992) original scoring rubric. The highest number of responses in one category was calculated and multiplied by 100 and then divided by 5 to obtain the ethical IQ score.
. The results for Group A indicated that the mean score for the group was a 123.57 IQ score. The results for Group B produced a mean score for the group that was a 110.54 IQ score. A t test was calculated to determine if there was a significant difference between mean scores. A significant difference was found at the .05 level of significance.
The preliminary results would suggest that as educational leaders are engaged in the day-to-day decision making and study ethical dilemmas, they become more willing to see options and weigh their decisions against the principle and the impact on the person. These results would also suggest, because of the significant difference in mean Ethical IQ scores, that experience and coursework can impact the decision making process of educational leaders. The data from this study would suggest that simply recognizing that dilemmas exist will not suffice when the school leaders must make tough decisions.