An exploration of moral leadership: What are the personal attributes, dispositions and capacities of principals who lead with moral purpose within their school community?
Elder, J. M. (2013). An exploration of moral leadership: What are the personal attributes, dispositions and capacities of principals who lead with moral purpose within their school community? (Thesis, Master of Educational Leadership (MEdLeadership)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8448
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8448
Brundrett, Fitzgerald and Sommerfeldt (2006) argue that the role of a principal has been burdened by site based administrivia, and increasing accountability centred on teacher performance and student attainment. However, Notman (2012) has identified school principals who develop certain types of personal attributes, dispositions, and capacities to lead in a moral way. They also appear to have a broader view of education and society. This leads towards the notion of exploring principals’ who lead with moral purpose in the context of their school community. Literature suggests the best way to explore principals who lead with moral purpose is through the social constructivist paradigm and qualitative methodology (Bear-Lehman, 2002). As a result, six New Zealand principals were identified and interviewed using a semi-structured interview process. The data from these interviews was then analysed using an interpretivist approach. Findings from the research illustrated how principals who lead with moral purpose have a deep conviction towards valuing human relationships within their school community. Moral purpose influences a principal to be driven by a social justice belief that every person in a community is entitled to a meaningful education and reasonable life. This understanding is further shaped by an ethical belief that the moral purpose of education is to ensure that the rights and aspirations of every community member, starting with their students, is protected and enhanced. This research has shown that principals who lead with moral purpose are more likely to be moral leaders, where their focus is on leading others in a moral way. They model and communicate ethical beliefs through their moral actions, which imbue a culture of high trust, collective responsibility and shared moral purpose. This has led to an authentic view of moral leadership which includes a moral leaders personal self-construct. Authentic moral principals have the capacity to critically self-reflect due to their developing ethical and moral intelligences.
University of Waikato
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