Journal of Business Ethics 47 (2):61 - 76 (2003)

This study used experimental and correlational techniques to examine perceptions that university faculty hold regarding the practice of professorial selling of examination textbooks to wholesalers. Faculty members (n = 236) from 14 universities and community colleges and a wide variety of academic disciplines responded to a web-based survey. We presented hypothetical selling situations to respondents with manipulated variables consisting of solicitation status (unsolicited versus solicited) and use of money (for faculty or for student activities). Both main effects and the interaction effect were significant such that respondents perceived it to be more ethical to sell an examination book when the book was unsolicited and when the money was being used to fund student activities. The variable most correlated with faculty members' beliefs that book selling is ethical and the faculty members' self-reports of whether or not they have engaged in bookselling was how widespread the practice appeared to be on campus. About 30 percent of faculty members sold textbooks over the past year at a dollar value of about $80 per professor. About 38 percent of respondents reported they believed the practice to be generally ethical. Implications for business ethics theory, students' moral development, and advancement of on-campus codes of ethics policies are discussed along with avenues for future research.
Keywords book selling  ethics  professors  web survey
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1026076314992
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