Date of Award



© 2018 Maryann Perry

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

William Boozang

Second Advisor

Mary Colleen Patterson

Third Advisor

Bradford Smith


The purpose of this study was to examine the basis on which superintendents made decisions to see if they were using the four ethical frameworks of the multiple ethical paradigms to guide their decision-making. The primary purpose was to comprehend, as portrayed by Shapiro and Stefkovich (2016), which moral frameworks (i.e., justice, care, critique, and the profession) were used, assuming any were actualized by Massachusetts superintendents in decision-making. Superintendents require methods and processes that assist them to probe, “the ethical depths of each situation that calls for a judgment” (Rebore, 2013, p. 31). For this qualitative study, the modification of the Van Kaam method of analysis by Clark Moustakas’ (1994) and Robert Nash’s (2002) three moral languages was used when examining the phenomenological data. Eight semi-structured interviews were conducted in response to four vignettes and the same four questions at the end of each vignette. The eight superintendents who were interviewed used multiple paradigms when solving ethical dilemmas and their experience influenced the paradigms they used most often. The superintendents utilized the ethics of justice and the profession more than the ethic of care and the profession. The superintendents’ moral languages flowed from the first, second, and third languages throughout the interviews. Understanding ethics can aid superintendents to apply the multiple paradigms when thinking about values and ethics and their applications to real situations.


Ed.D. Dissertation