Ethical Leadership: The Role of Ethical Competencies in Doctoral Supervision Context in Canada


  • Maha Al Makhamreh Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
  • Benjamin Kutsyuruba Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario



ethical leadership, ethics, higher education, doctoral supervision, well-being, Canadian universities


Due to the influence factor in leader-follower relationships, leadership is an ethical undertaking by nature. In doctoral supervision, ethics are a critical competency, especially since it is an authoritative leadership context based on positional power. Doctoral supervisors have the power to impact their students’ well-being and performance, which means that ethics and ethical leadership could be the most important competency that can make the difference in effective supervision. In this chapter, we examined the nature of ethics and ethical leadership in doctoral supervision based on the supervisors’ and doctoral students’ lived experiences and perspectives. Data analysis of the participant’ responses revealed the importance of key ethical competencies in the context of graduate supervision: commitment, stewardship, honesty, justice/fairness, benevolence, nonmaleficence, respect, and autonomy. The data have shown that these competencies are vital within the doctoral supervision context as they can help maintain students’ well-being and enhance their performance. Findings suggest that attention to ethical practices is key to the development of positive supervisory relationships and the implementation of successful doctoral programs.

Author Biographies

Maha Al Makhamreh, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario

Maha Al Makhamreh (Ph.D.), is a researcher at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada. Maha mainly specializes in the areas of leadership and policy, wellbeing, doctoral supervision, mentorship, and organizational behaviour. Maha’s research has been published in national and international journals and conferences with a focus on the role of relational and positive leadership styles within the doctoral supervision context and their impact on supervisor and student wellbeing. Maha offers workshops, talks and consultations on positive changes to promote wellbeing within universities, K-12, and other organizational contexts. 

Benjamin Kutsyuruba, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario

Benjamin Kutsyuruba is Professor in Educational Leadership, Policy, and School Law in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University. For 10 years, he served as an Associate Director of Social Program Evaluation Group (SPEG) at Queen’s University. His current research projects focus on positive leadership, flourishing in schools, educator wellbeing, and teacher induction and mentoring in international settings. 



26-12-2023 — Updated on 26-12-2023

How to Cite

Al Makhamreh, M., & Kutsyuruba, B. (2023). Ethical Leadership: The Role of Ethical Competencies in Doctoral Supervision Context in Canada . International Journal for Leadership in Learning, 23(1), 73–106.