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Putting values into practice : the role of moral and ethical values in planning a leadership training program Gravelle, André H.

Abstract

In program planning there is a wide variety of planning models, frameworks and philosophies that guide the actions of planners. This study was undertaken to observe how a certain perspective on program planning influenced the planning of an adult education program. The location for this study was the Meeting the Leadership Challenge (MLC) program, which is an executive education offering designed to teach leadership skills to mid to upper-level executives. This goal of this study was to observe what considerations guided instructors in the planning of the MLC program, and to determine to what degree these considerations reflected moral/ethical values in addition to or instead of pragmatic/instrumental values. The study involved an examination of a variety of planning considerations evident in the MLC program in order to see how certain types of values were reflected in each consideration. By undertaking . this study it was hoped that a greater understanding would be gained into what role values play in the planning process, and how understanding this better might help planners deal with the complex planning environment. This study is based on interviews with five instructors who were actively engaged in the ongoing planning of the MLC program. The findings that resulted from the interviews were categorized into planning considerations and were located on a values continuum that illustrated the extent to which each consideration was reflective of moral/ethical values or pragmatic/instrumental values. The study concluded that a wide range of values were evident in the planning considerations, and that the majority of considerations were reflective of both moral/ethical values as well as pragmatic/instrumental values. Understanding more about this distinction can help planners know when considerations that are reflective of certain values can be negotiated, and when they cannot. These discoveries support the belief about the complexity of the planning environment, and how learning more about the influence values have on the planning environment may enable planners to be more conscious and deliberate in their actions. In particular, it may enable planners to design programs in which their own actions more closely reflect, not only their own fundamental values and beliefs, but also those of their constituents.

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