Ethics for School Leaders: The Human Condition and Organizational Dynamics is about the complex role of formal and informal leaders in schools. It presents multiple perspectives to enhance comprehension of the organizational and psychological dynamics that come into play when school leaders—those with authority and those without authority—are faced with ethically challenging situations. In addition to a tour of leadership theories, organizational dynamics, psychological dynamics, and ethical perspectives, the case studies in this book weave together aspects of people’s emotional make-up, cognitive framework, and past experiences to illustrate how school leaders use reason and emotion to make complex connections between their inner lives and the demands of their profession.
This book identifies specific examples of ways school leaders can enhance ethical practice at the organizational level as well as how to focus on the things they can do personally and interpersonally to improve their work as school leaders in order to make lives better for all of the people they serve. By integrating various approaches to the study of the leadership process, this book makes an important contribution to fields of leadership studies and professional ethics.
Dan Mahoney teaches graduate courses in ethics, research, leadership, and curricular design at Gonzaga University, where he conducts research with teachers, principals, superintendents, and other educational leaders. He and his wife, Scooter, live in Spokane, Washington.
List of Tables
Chapter 1: The Human Condition
Chapter 2: An Overview of Leadership
Chapter 3: Organizational Dynamics
Chapter 4: Psychological Dynamics
Chapter 5: Ethical Frameworks
Chapter 6: Due Process of the Law
Chapter 7: Utility and Agreeableness
Chapter 8: The Categorical Imperative
Chapter 9: The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number
Chapter 10: The Heroic Ideal and Self-Interest
Chapter 11: Absolute Truth and Nonviolence
Chapter 12: Respect for Persons
Chapter 13: Emotions and Intellect: A Family Systems Approach
Chapter 14: Practical and Professional Ethics: A Case Study Approach
Chapter 15: Professional Ethics, Moral Values, and Confidentiality
Chapter 16: Confidences Betrayed: The Pain Flows In and Out in Waves
Chapter 17: Inappropriate Relationships
Chapter 18: Being Used or Being of Service
Chapter 19: An Emotionally, Intellectually, and Spiritually Punishing Year
Chapter 20: Ducking and Weaving Through a Course in Human Sexuality
Chapter 21: Theft in the Staff Room
Chapter 22: Racist Language and the Unspoken Rule
Chapter 23: Hiding the Truth to Make Things Better
Chapter 24: Fabricated Meetings and Toxic Leadership
Chapter 25: Stolen Data
Chapter 26: Whose Curriculum Is It?
Chapter 27: Shifts in Society, Shifts in Leadership
Chapter 28: Enhancing our Ethical Practice
Chapter 29: Welcome to the Journey
About the Author
Dan Mahoney’s book could not come at a better time. The current issues and problems educational leaders face have never been more challenging. Whether attempting to dismantle systemic injustice or pandemic recovery, school leaders must center themselves on an ethical framework to address the many ethically complex situations that are ever-present in today’s schools. Mahoney offers a valuable resource to assist today’s educational leaders when faced with an ethically complex situation. I highly recommend Ethics for School Leaders: The Human Condition and Organizational Dynamicsto any educational leader.
Never before has there been a more important need for a conversation and action with staff, teachers, and administrators on ethically compromising situations. I urge you to read Ethics for School Leadersand share your learning with colleagues to support identifying and implementing ethics into their professional practice. As an associate superintendent, my own practice has been significantly impacted by Dan Mahoney’s teaching and leadership in ethics. His practical, honest, and caring approach gave me the confidence to implement ethics into my professional practice and create better relationships with my colleagues, staff, and school community.
Ethics for School Leaders: The Human Condition and Organizational Dynamicsis one of the best leadership books I have ever read. It is an engaging, timely, and practical book that uses the perfect blend of knowledge and case studies to develop the readers’ leadership skills. By presenting leaders with ethically compromising situations and carefully guiding them through reflections, Dan Mahoney ultimately grows your leadership skills and humbly shows you how to implement ethics into professional practice. The power of this book reaches beyond growing strong, ethical leaders to transforming the human condition in schools and improving life for students and staff.
In Ethics for School Leaders: The Human Condition and Organizational Dynamics, Dan Mahoney provides leaders with a framework to consider the underlying complexities that influence education, allowing for an analysis between the why, how, and what needs for effective leadership.
Dan Mahoney understands what school leaders encounter in ethically complex situations. He combines insights from diverse bodies of knowledge, sourcing respected authors, and supports that knowledge with personally derived case studies. Ethics for School Leaders supports school leaders and helps them understand themselves and others as well as provides them with valuable information they can use to enhance their school culture.
Now, more than ever, school leaders are experiencing moral distress as they strive to lead within the shifting complexities of schools. Dan Mahoney’s book offers pertinent insight into understanding not only the challenges of leadership in school contexts but how one might undertake that work ethically, so that all can thrive, while holding the value of human relationship at the core of the work. Ethics for School Leaders is an important read for those interested in undertaking school leadership in either a degree or certification program. The tenets of this book complement the philosophy of the leadership certification program at Ambrose University and would provide support for several topics within the program as a supplemental text.
I have worked in education as a teacher, mentor, and instructional leader in England and in Canada. In my experience, practical ethics was part of the ‘null curriculum’—meaning they were not part of the range of skills that are focused on or developed to the extent they are needed within our schools. Dan Mahoney addresses this competency gap in both teacher education and in reflective professional development by illustrating how to strengthen ethical frameworks in our professional practice. His insightful book allows for examination of problems of practice we face as teachers and leaders within the school setting. Ethics for School Leaders provides opportunities to expand our perspectives on a range of issues and empowers us to make ethical decisions in our day-to-day practice. This is a timely and valuable book negotiating the challenges we face as educators today.
Dan Mahoney’s book is helpful for all school leaders. The use of case studies to explore and review leadership styles, organizational analysis, ethical theories, and family systems theory allows leaders to make connections and relevant reflections within circumstances paralleling their work. As a mother, partner, educator, and aspiring district leader, I appreciate the examples of complex situations that allow me to see myself in different roles and to consider the different perspectives, theories, processes, and relationships that might influence my decision-making. Additionally, when the case study features someone else, it feels safer for me to critique the behaviours and decisions and to set objectives for myself were those situations to come up for me. Each chapter has offered me a focus or a reflection for the influences, both past and ongoing, in my decision-making.
The multiple perspectives, dynamic case studies, and reflective questions will remind teachers and leaders of their duty and obligation to redefine, reimagine, and continually develop leadership in education. Ethics for School Leaders: The Human Condition and Organizational Dynamicsis an inspiring and thought-provoking book to increase awareness of perceptions, misconceptions, and help surface personal biases and potential areas of weakness within the complexities of any leadership style or position.
We should never settle for the path of least resistance in leadership, but rather ask the essential questions to seek a solution in the best interest of all stakeholders. Ethics for School Leaders: The Human Condition and Organizational Dynamicsinstills the importance of understanding the process of a system, acknowledging different perspectives, and being aware of positionality by incorporating various real-world case studies that will help readers strengthen their ethical decision-making skills.
Dan Mahoney has provided a roadmap for both new and experienced school administrators to reflect upon and understand leading ethically in complex times. He builds a foundation of understanding school leadership through classical and research-based literature, and then connects it to real-life, engaging case studies. His unique writing process allowed me to make instant and meaningful connections to the powerful premise of this book.
The theory, scenarios, and questions in Ethics for School Leaders promote deep reflection and enhanced self-awareness that help guide school leaders’ actions. Dan Mahoney offers readers the invaluable opportunity to assume a balcony view of their past experiences and current realities as they consider the interplay of relationships, desired vision, organizational culture, pedagogy, policy, and individual, group, and system values. This leadership resource should be kept close by to support decision-making informed by core beliefs and a thorough understanding of the challenge or issue.
Dan Mahoney invites us to investigate our role in relationship to the ever-changing educational system and how to advocate for a practice that is anchored in our shared values. His work helps educators become empowered and authentic leaders who solve interesting problems better together. He inspires us to create systems that work. Dan Mahoney’s compassionate approach reminds us of the sacred in teaching.
Educators will welcome Dan Mahoney’s contribution to the evolving interest in the field of ethical reflection in primary and secondary education. With the artful application of time-honored principles of ethics to issues at the confluence of education and morality, Mahoney has provided a timely and invaluable guide for navigating the practical resolution of controversies increasingly apparent on the broad spectrum of education.