Ethical practice: A study of Chilean school leaders

Carolina Cuellar, David Giles

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: This article seeks to report on a research inquiry that explored the educational praxis of ethical school leaders in Chile. Behaving ethically is an imperative for school leaders. Being an ethical educational leader is something different. It is not only about behaving according to standards, but also rather involves an ethical way of being that engages the leader holistically in their attempt to do the right thing for students. Design/methodology/approach: A multiple case study design was employed to gain insight into the feelings, beliefs and thoughts of ethical school leaders in Chile regarding their educational experiences. To this end, semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight identified ethical school leaders. The data focused on the commonalities and uniqueness within and across participants. Findings: Six main themes that reflect the experience of being ethical as a school leader in Chile were identified and included: holding personal and professional ethics as inseparable; "consistently" inspiring practice; valuing others; sustaining a humane view of education; being sensitive to the complex local context; and leading as serving. Originality/value: Ethical leaders in education have been shown to influence educational contexts from a moral imperative that is grounded in a critical and humanistic concern that deeply affirms "others" as a common good. Becoming and being an ethical leader is indeed an experiential journey that integrates the leader's personal and professional way of being. The findings provide key elements of ethical leadership within a Chilean school context that can influence current and future school leaders' practices and professional development.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)420-436
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Educational Administration
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


    • Chile
    • Ethics
    • Leadership
    • Leadership development
    • Management development
    • Schools


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