An Analysis of Principals’ Ethical Decision Making Using Rest's Four Component Model of Moral Behavior

Joann Franklin Klinker, Donald G. Hackmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Secondary school principals confront ethical dilemmas daily. This study examined how MetLife/NASSP Secondary Principals of the Year made ethical decisions conforming to three dispositions from Standard 5 of the ISLLC Standards and if they could identify processes used to reach those decisions through Rest's Four Component Model of Moral Behavior. Using a descriptive design with a mixed methodological approach of survey research and interviews of selected respondents, state principals of the year (N = 64) were surveyed regarding selected dispositions. Quantitative results indicated that the majority of respondents made ethical decisions regarding the three dispositions tested, but analysis as to the justifications used for those decisions was inconclusive. Qualitative analysis of selected respondents indicated that Rest's four components are essential justifications for making ethical decisions. Four themes emerged from the qualitative study: courage, a philosophy of the common good, gut feelings, and difficulty in defining ethics.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-456
JournalJournal of School Leadership
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

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