The aim was to learn about responsible management in private sector nano enterprises by telephone conversations with lead technologists and managers in companies in the US Midwest. The conversations took place between January and March of 2011. The marked increase starting in 2008 of prescriptive documents such as guidelines, codes of responsibility, and best practices in NanoEthicsBank offered an entry point for initiating the conversations. Had respondents noticed these documents and did they find them useful? Follow-up questions asked about the (...) full life cycle of their products. The responses from 22 of the 25 organizations selected are categorized in 5 groups according to how they described their nano materials/business. A conception of responsible management in organizations is provided to underpin the analysis of the responses. This conception features virtues of concern, care, and foresight implied by a fundamental moral obligation. In the analysis, definitions from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Standards Organization (ISO) are used as a basis of comparison in assessing respondents’ claims. Two important gaps are identified. One gap is between actual practices and the prescriptive use of the conception of responsible management in organizations. The other gap is between the actual use of nano terminology and OECD definitions. (shrink)
While the entire “wish-list” of expected benefits from nanotechnology has received little scrutiny in the U.S. with regard to issues of social justice, ethics specialists and social scientists are beginning to focus on the responsible conduct of actual nano research and development (R&D) in government, commercial, and academic institutions. In view of the current rush to commercialization, the rush by universities to “get aboard,” and the importance of public trust, it is essential to investigate strategies to promote responsible conduct in (...) the nano area. As this paper discusses, public engagement is one strategy; another is the formulation and implementation of standards of care that are the outcome of inclusive, deliberative processes. (shrink)
A focus on standards for assessing proposals for online teaching of practical and professional ethics provides an approach to standards for raising the level of online teaching. Intellectual merit, broad impact, and integration of research and teaching featuring a high level of interactivity are key criteria for evaluation. Especially noted is research that can serve to prepare instructors, to enrich the content of courses, and to stimulate further research. Yet raising the level of online teaching hinges on developing easy access (...) and navigability in an online curriculum. (shrink)
This case raises ethical issues involving conflicts of interest arising from industrial funding of academic research; ethical responsibilities of laboratories to funding agencies; ethical responsibilities in the management of a research lab; ethical considerations in appropriate research design; communication in a research group; communication between advisor and graduate student; responsibilities of researchers for the environment; misrepresentation or withholding of scientific results.
As Kenneth Pimple points out, scientists’ responsibilities to the larger society have received less attention than ethical issues internal to the practice of science. Yet scientists and specialists who study science have begun to provide analyses of the foundations and scope of scientsts’ responsibilities to society. An account of contributions from Kristen Shrader-Frechette, Melanie Leitner, Ullica Segerstråle, John Ahearne, Helen Longino, and Carl Cranor offers work on scientists’ social responsibilities upon which to build.
To counter confusion about the term ‘mentor’, and address concerns about the scarcity of mentoring, I argue for an “honorific” definition, according to which a mentor is virtuous like a saint or hero. Given the unbounded commitment of mentors, mentoring relationships must be voluntary. In contrast, the role of advisor can be specified, mandated, and monitored. I argue that departments and research groups have a moral responsibility to devise a system of roles and structures to meet graduate students’ and postdoctoral (...) fellows’ needs for information and advice. (shrink)
A summary of the career of a Russian engineer who practiced a century ago in western Europe, as well as in Russia, provides an example of how ethical standards can influence practice across national boundaries. An examination of his career and his conception of engineering, of the evolution of engineering standards and codes, and of the process of formulating codes in particular instances explains how international standards can shape practice in an international context.