Date of Award

Fall 11-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt

Second Advisor

Dr. Erik Melton

Third Advisor

Dr. Jeff Marion


Researching ethical decision-making, within an educational setting, shed light on the importance of how each decision may influence an individual leader across generations. “A leader’s system of values, or deeply held beliefs, is the ethical framework from which a leader develops a vision, defines and shapes the change process and takes action to make his or her vision a reality” (Vogel, 2012, p. 1). The researcher sought to investigate the how and why of each decision to explore a possible gap between one leader to another, based on age, experience, education, gender and/or race. When an educational leader experienced a turbulent situation with a decision, these situations “tap both the ethics of justice, critique, care, and the profession, as well as … the emotional context for [each] decision…by focusing on The Turbulence Theory” (Shapiro & Gross, 2013, p. xi). Shapiro and Gross (2013) established a similar study based on the Multiple Ethical Paradigms: ethic of care, ethic of critique, ethic of justice, and ethic of profession, which formed the foundation for the researcher’s study. This study also gathered data on how a leader’s experience shaped current decision-making. The total number of participants consisted of 45 educational leaders enrolled at a Midwest university with a unique set of leadership characteristics. The 45 surveyed participants consisted of 30 females and 15 male educational leaders with 12 of those participants self-reported as Black and 33 self-reported as White. The participants described in detail the thinking behind each decision. The researcher analyzed each decision based on a specific ethical decision-making paradigm to seek a relationship to an educational leader’s characteristic. iii Results from the contingency table revealed a relationship between specific characteristics based on a particular scenario. Recommendations for future studies included investigation on each ethical paradigm and an individual educational leadership characteristic and analysis on reasons ‘why’ each educational leader leaned on one particular ethical paradigm over another.


Copyright 2017