Ethical leadership: a study of educational leaders at Vancouver Island University
Qualitative action research was employed to gain insight into a sample of educational leaders’ beliefs, feelings, and thoughts about their own ethical behaviours, characteristics, and values. Participants were selected from faculty and executive administration at Vancouver Island University (VIU). The participants provided perspectives and reflections through private, one-on-one, semi-structured interviews. Each educational leader engaged in a 90-minute interview that included questions and case scenarios designed by this researcher to elicit rich and in-depth responses. The participants shared their dilemmas, ideas, thoughts, and some ethical ways of being and leading as educational leaders. The primary goal of the study was to identify varieties of behaviours, characteristics, and values from the participants who shared ethical ways of being and leading for this researcher’s professional development and growth as an educational leader. While aiming to share these findings with those preparing for educational leadership, a secondary goal of the study was to explore ways in which the participants fostered cultures of trust. The results of the study illustrate a variety of ethical leadership behaviours, characteristics, and values that can be learned and practiced. The study also depicts some of the ways in which the participants viewed their ethical leadership as beneficial to the fostering of cultures of trust.