Science and Engineering Ethics 21 (6):1551-1579 (2015)

Abstract
The study of ethical behavior and ethical decision making is of increasing importance in many fields, and there is a growing literature addressing the issue. However, research examining differences in ethical decision making across fields and levels of experience is limited. In the present study, biases that undermine ethical decision making and compensatory strategies that may aid ethical decision making were identified in a series of interviews with 63 faculty members across six academic fields and three levels of rank as well as across gender. The degree to which certain biases and compensatory strategies were used in justifications for responses to ethical situations was compared across fields, level of experience, and gender. Major differences were found across fields for several biases and compensatory strategies, including biases and compensatory strategies related to use of professional field principles and field-specific guidelines. Furthermore, full professors tend to differ greatly from assistant and associate professors on a number of constructs, and there were differences in the consistency with which biases and compensatory strategies were displayed within these various groups. Implications of these findings for ethics training and future research are discussed
Keywords Ethics  Cross-field  Biases  Compensatory strategies  Cross-rank  Ethical decision making
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DOI 10.1007/s11948-014-9615-z
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