Environmental influences on ethical decision making: Climate and environmental predictors of research integrity

Ethics and Behavior 17 (4):337 – 366 (2007)
Abstract
It is commonly held that early career experiences influence ethical behavior. One way early career experiences might operate is to influence the decisions people make when presented with problems that raise ethical concerns. To test this proposition, 102 first-year doctoral students were asked to complete a series of measures examining ethical decision making along with a series of measures examining environmental experiences and climate perceptions. Factoring of the environmental measure yielded five dimensions: professional leadership, poor coping, lack of rewards, limited competitive pressure, and poor career direction. Factoring of the climate inventory yielded four dimensions: equity, interpersonal conflict, occupational engagement, and work commitment. When these dimensions were used to predict performance on the ethical decision-making task, it was found that the environmental dimensions were better predictors than the climate dimensions. The implications of these findings for research on ethical conduct are discussed.
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