Ethical leadership for school governance: case study of four selected senior secondary schools in Gaborone
Ugwu, Chikezie Ignatius
PublisherUniversity of Botswana, www.ub.bw
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One of the core characteristics shared by successful leaders is their ability to use effective leadership styles during governance. It has been shown that ethical leadership (EL), a leadership style that is grounded in ethical norms and practice, is a tool for achieving good governance (GG). Even with well laid down education policies on ethics, cases of unethical practices in schools abound. This study, therefore, examined the place of EL in promoting school GG. This was done by exploring the EL and GG perspectives of teachers and school leaders, the extent to which school leaders practice ethics, and the extent to which they ensure that ethics is embedded in their schools’ organizational culture. Using a post-empiricist paradigm, the study adopted a concurrent/convergent mixed method research design which involved collecting and interpreting qualitative and quantitative data at the same time. The population of the study was teachers and school leaders in four government senior secondary school (SSS) in Gaborone. Simple random sampling technique was employed to select 97 teachers for the quantitative part of the study while purposive sampling was employed to select 9 school leaders for the qualitative study. Questionnaires were used to obtain quantitative data which was analyzed using SPSS 22, while oral interviews were used to obtained qualitative data which were analyzed using codes to arrive at themes. The respondents’ understanding of rule of law, virtues for leadership, integrity and ethics showed clearly that their perspectives on EL and GG synchronize with what they stand for. The findings showed that school leaders are ethical in the course of governance as evidenced by both the qualitative and quantitative data. However, in triangulating the qualitative and the quantitative data, it was found that whilst the school leaders are of the view that they involved stakeholders in decision-making, 55% of the teachers concurred while 45% say otherwise. This raises concerns about the style of leadership applied by the school leaders. Furthermore, the majority of the teachers (76%) and school leaders argued that they are not faced with ethical dilemmas as instructional leaders and leaders respectively. This contradicts the available literature and therefore, calls for the need to organize EL training for educators in order to make them ethically aware to take the right decisions when faced with ethical dilemmas. Although there is no unified code of ethics used by the schools studied, the respondents indicated that there are some “unwritten” codes of ethics that are embedded in their schools’ organizational culture and generally implemented in their schools. This approach could be used to implement any code of ethics that will be enacted in future. Exactly 79% of the teachers admitted that ethics is embedded in their organizational culture, while 21% stated otherwise. This calls for swift action since the situation may deteriorate if proper actions are not taken. Overall, the study showed that EL leads to school GG. However, it is recommended that immediate steps should be taken to enact ethical code of conduct in Botswana using the blueprint presented in this study.