Book review Ethical Leadership and Decision Making in Education Applying Theoretical Perspectives to Complex Dilemmas


Book review: Ethical Leadership andDecision Making in Education: Applying Theoretical Perspectives toComplex Dilemmas

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Book review

Book: Ethical leadership anddecision making in education: Applying theoretical perspectives tocomplex dilemmas.

Authors:Joan Poliner Shapiro &amp Jacqueline A. Stefkovich.

Publisher:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Ince, US (Eurospan).

This book is written from within anAmerican context. This means that its use in the education leadershipfield is most applicable to U.S schools. However, the content can beapplied in a wider geographic context. There are three developmentsin the field of education leadership that are used to formulate thecontent of the book. The first development is the recent academicresearch into the study of ethics amongst educational leaders.Secondly, it is the legal directive to school leaders in the U.Sdemanding that they should understand all the necessary ethicalissues in education leadership. Finally, the ever growing need ofhaving school administrators to understand the dynamic administrativechallenges that they face every day.

Theauthor intended to show how the relationship between differentethical challenges and real-life application of moral problems thatadministrators face. It also addresses the issue of curriculumorganization, as school administrators strive towards ensuring thatthe fabric and content of the curriculum are within the acceptablemoral standards. The book also places emphasis on the importance ofethics and the need for understanding its underlying principles,which is important for helping the school administrators to developtheir personal ethical behaviors.

Thebook is divided into three major parts, both offering distinctinformation about the topic. In the first two parts, the authorpresents an idea of the importance of ethics in the field. This isapplicable mainly to administrators, and goes ahead to give theaddress the issue by giving examples of how administrators struggleto cope with ethical dilemmas that they face every day. Moreconcisely, the book presents the actual dilemmas in the secondchapter. The approach used explain how these dilemmas come to occurin the school setting, and how various solutions are used to addressthem. A number of chapters follow the second chapter, which have beenwritten by new graduates who explain how the multi-paradigm approachmay be used in this context. The final emphasizes in teachingstrategies.

Anumber of ethical frameworks for approaching dilemmas faced byeducation leaders form the content of the first chapter. They arepresented in a manner that values their density and differentapproaches that can be used to solve them. In contemporary educationpractice, diversity means that the educational leaders have to adjustmore to school processes. Therefore, the ethical approaches presentedin this chapter help the education leaders to identify and reflect onthe possible solutions. The chapter holds that the educationalleaders have to strategically evaluate their ethics and know how tosolve the problems arising from distinct groupings.

Thesecond chapter of the book covers the techniques of approach that areidentified in the first chapter, which are justice, critique,professional ethics and care. The law and individual rights are thefocus of the ethic of justice. These are borrowed from liberaldemocratic ideas, which are created by a number of sociologists andpsychologists. The foundation of legal principles and educationallaws are pillars for this approach. On the other hand, the ethics ofcritique encourages the education leaders to challenge the statusquo, instead of following the scholarly traditions. Through this, theauthor asserts that the education leaders will be in a position tosupport the struggle against inequality and such. This will help topromote freedom and equality, which themselves are principles ofdemocracy. The care ethics presents a perspective of dilemmas whichorient the educators on how to deal with the young learners who theyare responsible for. Finally, the ethic of professionalism is animportant proposal that equips the education leaders withself-awareness as regards to the professional code of conduct.

Followingthis chapter, a number of other chapters address the issue of how theeducational leaders need to encounter clashes between members of acertain institution. These clashes come in the form of individualrights and community standards. Over the recent past, other issuescausing tensions between the learners have taken the direction ofreligious and cultural issues, professional conduct codes andpersonal accountability. The last chapter of the book concentrates onteaching styles for offering content on ethics in relationship to theleadership of the modern age. Personal accounts on the topic are usedto create real-life perceptions for the teachers. In spite of thedatum that the book was written specifically for the Americaneducators, it is an important resource for teachers and students fromacross the geographical boundaries. This book is specifically helpfulfor those who want to learn more about educational ethics, moralleadership and a professional code of conduct. Some of the instancesthat are given in the book are similar to the real life situation inthe United Kingdom. Generally, the book gives presents a plethora ofideas regarding educational leadership ethics and is useful forapplication in a variety of situations. There is additionalinformation about the contributors and the exact contributions thatthey give.


Shapiro, J.P. &amp Stefkovich, J.A. (2005). Ethical leadershipand decision making in education: Applying theoretical perspectivesto complex dilemmas. New York, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum AssociatesInc.