Business Research Ethics Case Study


The High Cost of Organizational Change
It was his first year of college teaching, and there were no summer teaching assignments for
new hires. But the university was kind enough to steer him to an aviation firm, Avionics Inc.,
which needed help creating an organizational assessment survey. The assignment was to last
five weeks, but it paid about the same as teaching all summer. The work was just about as
perfect as it gets for an organizational behavior specialist. Avionics Inc.’s vice president, whom
he met the first day, was cordial and smooth. The researcher would report to a senior manager
who was coordinating the project with the human resources and legal departments.
It was soon apparent that in the 25?year history of Avionics Inc., there had never been an
employee survey. This was understandable given management’s lack of concern for employee
complaints. Working conditions had deteriorated without management intervention, and
government inspectors counted the number of heads down at desks as an index of
performance. To make matters worse, the engineers were so disgruntled that word of
unionization had spread like wildfire. A serious organizing effort was planned before the VP
could approve the survey.
Headquarters dispatched nervous staffers to monitor the situation and generally involve
themselves with every aspect of the questionnaire. Shadowed, the young researcher began to
feel apprehension turn to paranoia. He consoled himself, however, with the goodwill of 500
enthusiastic, cooperative employees who had pinned their hopes for a better working
environment to the results of this project.
The data collection was textbook perfect. No one had asked to preview the findings or had
shown any particular interest. In the fifth week, he boarded the corporate jet with the VP and
senior manager to make a presentation at headquarters. Participants at the headquarters
location were invited to attend. Management was intent on heading off unionization by
showing its confidence in the isolated nature of “a few engineers’ complaints.” They had also
promised to engage the participants in action planning over the next few days.
An hour into the flight, the Avionics Inc. VP turned from his reading to the young researcher
and said, “We have seen your results, you know. And we would like you to change two key
findings. They are not all that critical to this round of fixing the ‘bone orchard,’ and you’ll have
another crack at it as a real consultant in the fall.”
“But that would mean breaking faith with your employees . . . people who trusted me to
present the results objectively. It’s what I thought you wanted . . .”
“Yes, well, look at it this way,” replied the VP. “All of your findings we can live with except these
two. They’re an embarrassment to senior management. Let me put it plainly. We have
government contracts into the foreseeable future. You could retire early with consulting
income from this place. Someone will meet us on the runway with new slides. What do you
In your submission please address all of the following questions:
1. Thinking about the research process, what do you consider to be the key ethical areas
for consideration in this scenario? Be specific, what research principles or values are
(potentially) violated by certain actions or inactions?
2. What are the potential areas for research bias and how would you suggest controlling
3. In what ways does top management impact the ethical culture of an organization?
4. What do you think the researcher should do? What are the implications of his decisions
even if there is no violation of law or regulation?
Adapted from Cooper, D. R., & Schindler, P. S. (2011). Business research methods (11th ed.). New York, NY:
McGraw Hill/Irwin. pp. 50?51


2. Write a 750 to 800-word paper in which you address all of the questions noted within the selected case study.

HINT: Because this is a short paper do not use valuable word count summarizing the case study. A one-two sentence introduction is sufficient. Though not needed, a short conclusion can be included as well, but it also should be brief. Additionally, do not include a restatement of each question in your paper as this too will use up ~12% of important word count. Use brief titles to separate your section or paragraphs with strong lead sentences.

3. Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines.

4. Save and Submit file using naming convention: LastName_Wk2_BusResEthics.

5. Click the Assignment Files tab to submit your assignment.

SPECIAL TIP: Citing this Case Study

Keep in mind, you are using the adapted case study I have included in

the classroom, not the one in the textbook. Therefore, when you

reference the case study you actually need to reference my adapted

copy. As such, depending on what kind of citation you are making you

would use:

Reference Page Entry

Todhunter, R.. (2014). Case study name. Retrieved from Todhunter,

R., Res 351 website.

In-Text Citation

1. Insert the paraphrased material (Todhunter, R., 2014).


1. According to Todhunter, R. Case study name (2014), Insert the

paraphrased material.


1. “Insert the quotation” (Todhunter, R., 2014, para.# ).

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