Field and Experience Influences on Ethical Decision Making in the Sciences

Ethics and Behavior 19 (4):263-289 (2009)
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Abstract

Differences across fields and experience levels are frequently considered in discussions of ethical decision making and ethical behavior. In the present study, doctoral students in the health, biological, and social sciences completed measures of ethical decision making. The effects of field and level of experience with respect to ethical decision making, metacognitive reasoning strategies, social-behavioral responses, and exposure to unethical events were examined. Social and biological scientists performed better than health scientists with respect to ethical decision making. Furthermore, the ethical decision making of health science students decreased as experience increased. Moreover, these effects appeared to be linked to the specific strategies underlying participants' ethical decision making. The implications of these findings for ethical decision making are discussed

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