Publication Date

Spring 2016

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Cecile Garmon (Director), Randall Capps, Kimberlee Everson, and Antony D. Norman

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


Strong ethical character and the ability to inspire others form crucial areas for leadership effectiveness, particularly in nonprofits. This study explored the relationship between ethical ideologies (idealism and relativism) and inspirational motivation of Christian nonprofit CEOs affiliated with the Christian Child and Family Services Association. The Ethics Position Questionnaire of Forsyth (1980), the Bass and Avolio (2004) Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire Leader Form (5X Short) – Inspirational Motivation, and a demographic questionnaire comprised the 30-item survey for this study. The participants’ responses were collected either online or on paper and were analyzed using Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient. The response rate was 34 of 45 participants (76%).

The current study found no significant correlation between ethical ideologies and inspirational motivation. The study results suggest that ethical idealism, relativism, and inspirational motivation require careful consideration as separate criteria in succession planning, selection, and training and development of executives. Further, this study adds to the limited amount of research in nonprofits, CEOs, leadership ethics, and inspirational leadership. Future research might employ a mixed method for in-depth understanding of the relationship between ethical ideologies and inspirational motivation of leaders. Finally, confirmatory factor analysis is recommended for larger samples.


Applied Behavior Analysis | Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Industrial and Organizational Psychology