Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Louise L. MacKay

Committee Members

Russell O. Mays, Russell F. West, Nancy Dishner, Cecil N. Blankenship


Leadership is the moving of people towards specified goals. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. The leadership dynamic of human interaction is one of the most studied and least understood phenomena. More attention is currently being given to the ethics of leadership in light of recent situations involving misconduct in the White House, illeagal accounting practices amoung top corporations, and misuse of power in religous organizations.

In this study, I sought to identify and prioritize characteristics of ehtical leadership with the assistance of leaders in four distinct groups; the business, religious, political, and educational communities within a six county area in Upper East Tennessee. The counties represented were: Carter, Greene, Johnson, Unicoi, Sullivan, and Washington. Using the Delphi technique, the characteristics were compiled and prioritized according to relative importance as perceived by members of the Delphi panel. The Delphi technique is essentially a series of questionnaires used to gain consensus on a topic. A panel of leaders in the business, education, political, and religious communities listed and assigned values to the characteristics they believed to be most important in being an ethical leader. Through the use of three rounds of questionnaires, consensus was reached on a prioritized list of ethical characteristics and leadership traits.

The study resulted in the identification of five ethical characteristics and seven leadership characteristics that the panel agreed should be demonstrated by ethical leaders. The ethical characteristics are: Integrity, Following Biblical Principles of Behavior, Hones/Truthful, High Moral Standards/Firm Convictions, and being Fair/Unbiased. The leadership characteristics are: Lead by Example, Develop an Atmosphere of Trust, Honest/Truthful, Involve Others in Decision Making, Team Builder, Good Communicator/Articulate, Creates a Vision for Others to Follow. The study also resulted in the identification of five ethical traits and sixteen leadership traits about which the four groups significantly differed in their assignment of values. Tables are provided that indicate the range, mean, and standard deviation that each trait received during the process.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.