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school leadership unethical leader conduct ubuntu kenya

Ubuntu and the Perceptions of Unethical Leader Conduct: A Case Study of Public Secondary School Leaders in Kenya

Truphena Oduol

This paper extends and complements previous research on unethical leader behavior by examining the social and cultural perspectives that inform the un.


This paper extends and complements previous research on unethical leader behavior by examining the social and cultural perspectives that inform the understanding of objectional conduct among secondary school leaders in Kenya. The study used a social constructivist theoretical framework, and qualitative case study, and semi-structured interviews with school boards of governors, principals, and heads of department and school bursars. The findings revealed that cultural beliefs underpinned by the ubuntu ethic informed the school leaders' perceptions of unethical leadership behavior in the Kenyan secondary school contexts. Four sub-themes highlight acts that contradict the ubuntu values of altruism, humanness, care, and solidarity. They include disregard for community interests, neglect of care for one's kin, disregard for harmony, and elders' respect. The study concluded that western universal perspectives and definitions could not solely be relied upon to describe unethical leadership behavior in schools in non-Euro western contexts. The study contributes to the literature on unethical and ethical leadership by proposing a potential benefit in recognizing and incorporating non-western perspectives in exploring and defining the unethical leadership construct.

Keywords: School leadership, unethical leader conduct, ubuntu, Kenya.

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