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Making the right choices: ethical judgments among educational leaders

Ori Eyal (School of Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel)
Izhak Berkovich (School of Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel)
Talya Schwartz (School of Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 5 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Scholars have adopted a multiple ethical paradigms approach in an attempt to better understand the bases upon which everyday ethical dilemmas are resolved by educational leaders. The aim of this study is to examine the ethical considerations in ethical judgments of aspiring principals.

Design/methodology/approach

To examine the ethical considerations involved in school leadership decision making, a specially designed ethical perspective instrument was developed that draws on the multiple ethical paradigms. This exploratory instrument was pre‐tested for validity and reliability among school principals and students of educational administration. The research sample consisted of 52 participants in principal training programs in Israel.

Findings

Negative correlations were found between choices reflecting values of fairness and those reflecting utilitarianism and care. In addition, negative correlations were found between choices reflecting values of community and those reflecting care, critique, and profession. Critique turned out to be the value most widely adopted by educational leaders to solve ethical dilemmas, followed by care and profession.

Originality/value

The common notion in the literature is that the various ethics complement one another. There is, however, little empirical work on ethical judgments of educational practitioners. The importance of this exploratory research is twofold: first, it examines the extent to which multiple ethical considerations can be taken into account simultaneously; and second, it identifies the prevailing values that come into play most often.

Keywords

Citation

Eyal, O., Berkovich, I. and Schwartz, T. (2011), "Making the right choices: ethical judgments among educational leaders", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 49 No. 4, pp. 396-413. https://doi.org/10.1108/09578231111146470

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited