This paper discusses some of the ethical issues associated with research on business and in organizations, using as its framework the ethical principles of justice, beneficence, and respect for persons. Keywords: Research ethics, justice, beneficence, respect for persons, informed consent 1. Introduction It is expected that most consultants and academics undertaking business and organization research would view themselves as professionals with standards for proper and ethical conduct, and accept that such standards distinguish hem from non-professional groups (Gallerias, Franken and Lateness, 1990).
Many would also believe that their research should promote the welfare of individuals and the performance of organizations, and would agree with Kebabs, Kebabs and Oozing (2002, p. 1 05) that their research “advances and shapes organizational objectives, culture, individuals and societies as it provides new insights that inform premises upon which decisions and judgments are based”.
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This view of academics and internal and external consultants undertaking business research is of people who are ring to make the world a better place for those within it. The research changes organizations for the better, and this positively influences the lives of all who work in them. But is this the case? Is research the shaping force, with the positive values of researchers influencing directions research will take, and thus providing benefits to individuals, organizations and society?
Or are organizational or other objectives shaping research, and has this softened the focus on the research’s effects on individuals and society, in particular the tutus participants? Are these individuals “advanced” by the research? And how do researchers manage the issues and tensions associated with trying to concurrently “advance organizational objectives, culture, individuals and society’ (Kebabs, Kebabs, and Oozing, 2002, p. 105)?
Is it possible to concurrently advance individual and organizational objectives, or are these business objectives sometimes inherently contradictory? And how well recognize these tensions, and how do they manage them? Jar touches upon these questions and suggests that differing rest ND attitudes create four different and contradictory motivate conducting research in organizations, and that each of these different relationship between researcher, organization, apart society.
She calls these motivations consultancy, instrumental consultancy, and academic research pro bono publics. The c approach, she argues, is focused on achieving a brief, and re objectivity tempered with impression management, in which transactional and the “human subjects studied are liable to c a collection of objects of interest” (p. 14). In contrast, the insist academic research orientation involves interest in the subject primary focus is on academic recognition.
She argues that jack of this kind is “willingly tailored” to the requirements of spoons and human participants are seen to contribute only as a meal Although she suggests the co-consultancy approach hopes to improvement to the organization, it may not always be to par any effects are not known until the change process has been Finally, her view is that only traditional academic research pre which looks to serve the public good and generate knowledge society, involves “deep concern for those participating in and research” (p. 16) . Simply put, she argues that the effect of the participants largely depends upon the type of research under is based upon the “professional ambitions and/or comfort zoo’ the researcher. If research is driven by a desire to meet goals sponsoring or collaborating organization or academic achieve difficult to provide benefits to participants. An alternative way of viewing the relationship between partial ND researchers is to return to the view of researchers as pro standards for ethical conduct.