Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Stratton, Susan||Wasonga, Teresa A. (Teresa Akinyi), 1961-

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


School superintendents--Professional ethics


Despite attempts to establish codes of ethics for educational leaders, school administrators continue to commit illegal and unethical acts that negatively impact their job performance and career potential. A comprehensive code of ethics needs to be developed, based on current research on codes of ethics, codes of ethics from other professions, and the constructs of behavior valued by successful educational leaders. This phenomenological research study explores those constructs of behavior. Studies, mainly in business, counseling, and medicine, have suggested components of codes of ethics, reasons to develop them, and their benefits and limitations. The educational leadership literature on codes of ethics is limited, especially concerning the underlying constructs of behavior. This researcher identified five areas of practice and eight constructs of behavior in superintendents' discussions of ethical dilemmas they faced while performing their duties. The areas of practice identified were: professional characteristics, personnel practices, political influences, financial issues, and professional development. When sharing ethical dilemmas concerning these five components, superintendents referred to eight constructs of behavior: concern, fairness, honesty, loyalty, compassion, empowering, respectfulness, and trust. This study suggests that professional organizations for practicing school leaders need to begin discussing the review of current attempts at a code of ethics. The areas of practice and behavioral constructs illuminated in this study could serve as a starting point for those discussions.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [135]-152).


vii, 169 pages




Northern Illinois University

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