The topic of the study is the phenomenology of School Leaders’ Experiences of Ethical Dilemmas. It explores the connection of school leadership and ethics and the nature and meaning of school leaders’ experiences of ethical dilemmas in their roles as school leaders. The research states that the study focuses on school leaders’ experiences of the ethical challenges that are inherent in the role of school leader; the leader struggles when the right action is unclear, is a matter of dispute, is a struggle to resolve, or in some other way presents as a dilemma. The author used the hermeneutic phenomenological approach described by Max Van Manen (1990, 2014) to explore the question of the study. For this study, the researcher collected data through interviewing and observing four principals in from the Washington DC and Northern Virginia metro area and included both public and private school leaders.
The main framework for the review is the one developed by Starratt (1991, 2012), expanded by Shapiro and Stefkovich (2001, 2011), and involves a multidimensional approach using the frames of justice, care, critique, and the profession.
The researcher focused on the ethical dimensions of the literature. The literature review begins with a framework established by Starratt (1991, 2012) and Shapiro and Stefkovich (2001, 2011) and explores the frames of justice, care, critique, and the profession. He also included a section to focus on other research relative to virtue. The participants were selected from the Washington DC and Northern Virginia metro area and included both public and private school leaders.
Methodology & Research Design
The author states he used a qualitative case study approach. The methodology used in this research study is hermeneutic phenomenology. This methodology includes the interpretation of experiences.
The researcher in his study interviewed four practicing school leaders and found that the experience of an ethical dilemma involves contemplating (cognition) the uncertainty (chance) about the moral merit (values conflict) of a situation and one’s capacity (power) and opportunity (options) to act in response. In conclusion, the researcher states that a thorough understanding of school leaders’ experiences of ethical dilemmas serves to inform a broader understanding of the role of ethics in school leadership. Suggestions for future research include the two suggestions presented earlier in this chapter; to explore whether school leaders have predispositions to certain ethical perspectives and to explore situations and conditions in which school leaders decide to remove/exclude a child or, conversely, where they consider removal and choose not to remove. Future research that focuses on identifying the values that are the foundation for a conflict is an important component of understanding the nature and meaning of the experience of ethical dilemmas.
This was a detailed research study and complicated to understand. For the most part, it was well written and well organized. Furthermore, there was a definite need for more study on a clear thought of what ethics means to school leaders or how they apply it to their role as school leaders. The study was limited to geographically and a small size of participants. Having four principals who were selected from the Washington DC and Northern Virginia metro area and included both public and private school leaders. However, the study provided a good background on the correlation between school leadership and ethics.