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Conflicts, confusions and contradictions in principals' ethical decision making

Neil Dempster (Griffith University, Mt Gravatt, Australia)
Lucy Carter (Centre for Leadership and Management in Education, Griffith University, Mt Gravatt, Australia)
Mark Freakley (School of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, Education Faculty, Griffith University, Mt Gravatt, Australia)
Lindsay Parry (Christchurch College of Education, Christchurch, New Zealand)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 1 August 2004



Using survey results compiled from an extensive study into the ethical decision making of school principals this article analyses the nature and consistency of principals' ethical decision‐making processes. Based on the findings, the article argues that even though principals on the whole have well‐meaning intentions, by and large, they do not display consistent conceptual knowledge of major ethical theories; they exhibit certain contradictions in their ethical reasoning and they suffer regular conflicts with their own personal and professional values. The article concludes by offering some suggestions for future professional development strategies that may serve to better educate principals on the concepts and processes required for consistent, confident and well‐reasoned ethical decision making.



Dempster, N., Carter, L., Freakley, M. and Parry, L. (2004), "Conflicts, confusions and contradictions in principals' ethical decision making", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 450-461.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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