Term of Award

Spring 2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Teri Denlea Melton

Committee Member 1

James E. Green

Committee Member 2

Susan J. Harrington

Abstract

Information technology (IT) misuse is a complex problem facing institutions of higher education in the United States. As institutions of higher education become more dependent on technology to increase access to programs and services, organizational leaders must rely on employees to utilize a variety of technology resources. Yet, the misuse of these resources often results in serious financial losses and increasing security and ethical incidents for institutions. In an effort to ensure more ethical work environments and reduce the incidents of IT misuse, a key component is the consideration of leadership styles of top management. The purpose of this research was to determine whether a relationship exists between certain leadership styles in higher education and the institutionalization of ethics, whether there is a relationship between institutionalization of ethics and the development of an ethical work climate, and whether there is a relationship between the ethical work climate and employee attitudes toward information technology misuse. This study used questions from existing surveys to measure leadership styles, the institutionalization of ethics, and ethical work climate, and a researcher developed instrument to measure employee attitudes toward IT misuse. The sample included currently employed faculty at institutions of higher education in the University System of Georgia. The results of this study found that significant relationships exist between leadership styles and both implicit and explicit forms of ethics institutionalization. In addition, significant relationships were found between both implicit and explicit forms of ethics institutionalization and the ethical work climate. The relationship between ethical work climate and employee attitudes toward IT misuse was found to be only marginally significant.

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