Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Patricia Ripoll


Research literature identifies ethical leadership, a leadership grounded in ethical norms and practice, as a critical vehicle for achieving organizational goals and fostering good governance. However, little research on leadership has focused on the public sector, leaving a gap in the literature. Leadership in governance is a concern in local government in Nigeria; in spite of the 1976 reforms, the country still lacks good governance and corresponding socioeconomic development. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore an ethical leadership model, and determine how such a model could inspire and sustain good governance in Nigerian local government administration. Ethical theories of utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics comprised the theoretical frameworks for this study. Research questions focused on the ways in which Nigerian local council officials attempted to foster and sustain good governance via ethical leadership. Face-to-face interviews with open-ended questions were conducted with 25 civil service employees purposefully selected from a local government. Data were analyzed by identifying themes utilizing constant comparison; these themes included honesty, concern for people, citizen participation, accountability, transparency, and rule of law. Results indicated a preference for an ethical leadership style, with the potential to harness resources to develop Nigeria's socioeconomic situation and improve the quality of governance. The implications for positive social change lie in informing public officials of the value and attributes of an ethical leadership style as well as training institutional leaders on this model. As ethical leadership is fostered in public administration, socioeconomic and human development may follow.