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Ethical dilemmas faced by school leaders: What are they? What challenges do they raise? How can they be 'managed'?

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 23:12 authored by Cranston, NC
Increasingly, principals are leading their schools in changing and challenging contexts, such that their decision-making is now framed by greater intensification and complexity. This, coupled with the significant people focus of much of their work, means that many of their decisions have multiple response pathways and hence are best considered as dilemmas, some of which generate ethical challenges. These ethical dilemmas - described by one principal as the "bread and butter" of what we do - go to the very heart of the principal's values and beliefs, and indeed potentially to those of the school, the staff, and the parent and community body. Drawing on research with principals, this seminar will explore what we mean by ethical dilemmas, the sorts of challenges they generate and some suggested strategies for "managing" them successfully. A model will be presented that conceptualises the key forces at play and the "actors" involved as school leaders struggle to resolve these ethical dilemmas. Potential consequences and impacts on individuals and schools of particular resolution pathways are also noted.


Publication title

Asia Pacific Centre for Leadership Change News


School of Health Sciences


Asia Pacific Centre for Leadership Change

Place of publication

Hong Kong, China

Event title

APCLC-EPL Learning Seminar

Event Venue

University of Hong Kong

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Management, resources and leadership

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