A pinboard by
Prakash C Bhattarai

Asst. Professor and Department Coordinator, Kathmandu University


A mixed methods study to examine ethical leadership of the principals

The study of ethical leadership is very important to cultivate professional practices and integrity in schools and their principals. This concern is particularly imperative to the principals of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector in Nepal, where there is the need of immediate reform. Therefore, a convergent mixed method study was carried out to explore: (a) the perceptions of principals’ ethical leadership and its level, and (b) what contributed to the evolution of ethical leadership in principals.

This study featured a paradigmatic mixing of post-positivism and humanism with two equally prioritized parallel phases of data collection and analysis. Quantitative data were collected from the postal survey of a representative sample of 217 principals and 372 instructors. The qualitative data were collected from 9 TVET schools of 3 districts of Nepal by using case study protocol. “Textual description” and “word tables” were prepared for as the outcome of qualitative data analysis. Additionally, tables were developed as the outcome of quantitative data analysis by using mean and standard deviation. These analyses were followed by comparisons of quantitative and qualitative results by seeking dis/similarities within the findings. The findings were then interpreted with literature, theories and personal reflection.

The findings of this study support the literature’s assertion that care, justice and critique were the key dimensions in the perceptions of ethical leadership in TVET schools. In practice, however, principals did not demonstrate optimal care and justice to exercise their professional judgment fully. The ethics of critique was perceived to facilitate and legitimize ethics of care and justice, but its role was dominated by the culture of obedience and silence. The findings also revealed that ethical sensitivity was not consolidated in principals because it was the outcome of their exposure to social-cultural and educational settings and workplace but not of capacity building. Consequently, principals could not harness the benefits of a constructive critical role. In conclusion, each principal is unique in ethical decision making and thus she/he decides with his/her own micro model consideration of his/her own personal, interactional and organizational context.