Challenges for research ethics and moral knowledge construction in the applied social sciences

Journal of Business Ethics 26 (4):307 - 318 (2000)
Abstract
Certain critical accounts of conventional research practices in business and the social sciences are explored in this essay. These accounts derive from alternative social paradigms and their underlying assumptions about appropriate social inquiry and knowledge construction. Among these alternative social paradigms, metatheories, mindscapes, or worldviews are social constructionist, critical, feminist, and postmodern or poststructural thinking. Individuals with these assumptions and values for knowledge construction are increasingly challenging conventional scholarship in what has been referred to as paradigm debates or wars. Issues of incommensurability or cross-paradigmatic communication potentials, as well as reflexivity, are raised in terms of moral education and development potentials for applied social science fields. Barriers and suggestions for increased moral development in academic and professional communities are discussed. In particular, moral forums in which participants have enhanced intrapersonal and interpersonal communication skills appear to be needed to surface and share often taken-for-granted assumptions concerning moral knowledge construction.
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