Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Pauline Reynolds, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Rodney Goodyear, Ph.D.

Bob Denham, Ed.D


social sciences, education, African-American, decision-making, ethical, leadership, principals


African American Studies | Educational Leadership


With an increasingly diverse system of education, school leadership must follow. For that reason, the perspectives of African American school principals are valuable, as school leaders work to develop more "tolerant and democratic schools" (Shapiro & Stefkovich, 2005, p. 4), and engage in ethical decision making. African American male principals share a culture which has shaped their experiences and perspectives and, therefore, their cultural and personal values and ethics can influence their decision making and school leadership roles. Unfortunately those may not necessarily be consistent or compatible with that of the organization, which can cause conflict. This qualitative study examined the school leadership experiences and ethical decision making of four African American male school principals in one particular school district. Participants answered a variety of semi-structured, open-ended and follow-up questions in face-to-face interviews, providing information and evidence regarding both their school leadership experiences and the influence of values and ethics on their decision making. They reported unique leadership and decision making practices. For example, spirituality was an integral element of their school leadership. They also made decisions which revealed a value of integrity and of serving as positive examples of Black men. Perceiving education as a mission to save lives, the principals demonstrated a genuine care for their students and the community, which influenced particular decisions. They also valued collaboration and collectivism with their school staff. Organizational conflict occurred as a result of differences between two principals' personal values and organizational expectations.


© 2014 Marcus Funchess

All Rights Reserved

ISBN: 9781321652895