Reporting Unethical Behavior

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This study analyzes data derived from a project aimed at understanding the norms of scientists (Korenman et al. 1998). The idea of this study is to find the reason whistle -blowing is so uncommon among scientists. The book defines whistle-blowing as informing authorities about unethical scientific conduct.

The method used to test this research was a computer program that would generate a survey. Each survey would include specific ethical and unethical scenarios, and the scientist and the institution representatives (IR's) answers to each scenario. Then the responses between the scientist and the institution representatives were compared.

Out of a possible 8,364 scenarios, 12 were selected randomly for each test. Each time a respondent was questioned they would be asked the same questions; if the act was unethical and if so what would you do, how bad each person felt that specific act was and finally what punishment was deserving of each unethical act.

After taking all this data the tester would take into account the gender, status, if they have a record and the consequences.

The scenario was the unit of analysis. The only scenarios that were studied were the scenarios in which the respondent answered unethical. This was to rule out the testers being biased. "The dependent variable was whether the respondent offered a response that included informing an administrator or individual external to researcher's group (a dean, a journal editor, a funding agency, a professional society or a reporter) versus limiting information within researchers (Korenman, 1998; Wenger, 1998)." Sixty-Nine percent of scientists and sixty-nine percent of IR's returned completed surveys. The turn out seemed to favor a younger crowd, however it showed that rank and gender did not affect the submitted survey. Ninety-Seven percent of respondents had a PhD and the median age was 50 years old. Scientists...