The Influence of Compensatory Strategies on Ethical Decision Making

Ethics and Behavior 24 (1):73-89 (2014)
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Ethical decision making is of concern to researchers across all fields. However, researchers typically focus on the biases that may act to undermine ethical decision making. Taking a new approach, this study focused on identifying the most common compensatory strategies that counteract those biases. These strategies were identified using a series of interviews with university researchers in a variety of areas, including biological, physical, social, and health as well as scholarship and the performing arts. Interview transcripts were assessed with two scoring procedures, an expert rating system and computer-assisted qualitative analysis. Although the expert rating system identified Understanding Guidelines, Recognition of Insufficient Information, and Recognizing Boundaries as the most frequently used compensatory strategies across fields, other strategies, Striving for Transparency, Value/norm Assessment, and Following Appropriate Role Models, were identified as most common by the computer-assisted qualitative analyses. Potential reasons for these findings and implications for training and practice are identified and discussed.



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