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HOW PEOPLE MAKE SENSE OF ETHICAL EVENTS. Jay Caughron University of Oklahoma 2009 Conference on Research Integrity May 17 th , 2009. Background: What do we know?. Ethical events Complex, ambiguous, socially relevant Cognitive reasoning strategies known to enhance EDM

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How people make sense of ethical events

HOW PEOPLE MAKE SENSE OF ETHICAL EVENTS

Jay Caughron

University of Oklahoma

2009 Conference on Research Integrity

May 17th, 2009


Background what do we know
Background: What do we know?

  • Ethical events

    • Complex, ambiguous, socially relevant

  • Cognitive reasoning strategies known to enhance EDM

    • Anticipating consequences

    • Recognizing circumstances

    • Considering others

  • Lingering questions

    • Why are these strategies effective for promoting EDM?

    • Why are the strategies used in some situations but not in others?

Mumford, Connelly, Brown, Murphy, Hill, Antes, Waples, & Devenport (2008)


Background what don t we know
Background: What don’t we know?

  • Sensemaking

    • Prompted by novel, unusual, ambiguous circumstances

    • The process by which an individual creates a meaningful and actionable representation of a situation in their mind

  • Situational Influences

    • How does the situation a person is in influence the cognitive process of ethical decision-making?

Weick (1995)


Hypotheses
Hypotheses

  • H1: Better sensemaking will result in decisions of higher ethicality

  • H2: The use of cognitive reasoning strategies will enhance sensemaking

  • H3: Situational conditions will influence the degree to which an individual will use cognitive reasoning strategies

Cognitive Reasoning Strategies

Sensemaking

Ethicality of Decisions

Situational

Conditions


Method
Method

  • 2x2x2

    • Manipulations: Situational Variables

  • Sample: 163 undergraduates

  • Scenario based task

    • Decision-maker in an organization

    • Provide solutions to problems that are presented

    • Based on EDM Taxonomy

  • Covariate Control Measures

  • Content Coded Responses


Manipulations situational variables
Manipulations: Situational Variables

  • Cause of Ethical Event

    • Personal Cause

    • Situational Cause

  • Outcome Focus

    • Personal

    • Organizational

  • Outcome Valence

    • Positive

    • Negative


Content coding
Content Coding

  • Cognition variables rated by expert judges

    • Ethicality of decisions

    • Sensemaking variables

      • No. Issues

      • No. Issue Types

      • Info Integration

    • Strategy use variables

      • Anticipating Consequences

      • Recognizing Circumstances

      • Considering Others


Results hypothesis 1
Results: Hypothesis 1

† = p<.10

* = p<.05

**= p<.01


Results summary hypothesis 1
Results Summary: Hypothesis 1

  • Hypothesis 1: Higher quality sensemaking results in more ethical decisions

No. of Issues

↑ No. of Issue Types

↑ Ethicality

↑ Information Integration

= Significant at p < .10

= Significant at p < .05


Results hypothesis 2
Results: Hypothesis 2

† = p<.10

* = p<.05

**= p<.01


Results hypothesis 21
Results: Hypothesis 2

* = p<.05

**= p<.01


Results hypothesis 22
Results: Hypothesis 2

† = p<.10

* = p<.05

**= p<.01


Results summary hypothesis 2
Results Summary: Hypothesis 2

  • Hypothesis 2: Greater use of reasoning strategies will promote sensemaking

↑ Anticipating Consequences

↑ No. of Issues

↑ Recognizing Circumstances

↑ Types of Issues

↑ Considering

Others

↑ Info. Integration

= Significant at p < .10

= Significant at p < .05


Results hypothesis 3
Results: Hypothesis 3

* = p<.05

** = p<.01


Results hypothesis 31
Results: Hypothesis 3

Outcome Focus Manipulation Results

Note: Personal condition significantly lower at the p<.01 level for all strategies

Measured on a 5-point scale


Results summary hypothesis 3
Results Summary: Hypothesis 3

  • H3: Situational conditions will influence the degree to which an individual will use cognitive reasoning strategies

Cause of

Ethical Event

(Personal/Situational

Anticipating Consequences

Outcome

Focus

(Org./Personal)

Recognizing Circumstances

Considering

Others

Outcome

Valence (Positive/Negative)

= Significant at p < .01


Limitations
Limitations

  • Undergrad sample

  • Low fidelity simulation

  • Low to moderate levels of co-linearity

  • Method bias


Overall summary
Overall Summary

  • Organizational focus on outcomes increased strategy use

  • Strategy use associated with more effective sensemaking

  • Better sensemaking associated with ethicality of decisions


Implications
Implications

Take a broad perspective concerning ethical events

  • Organizational focus better than personal focus

    • Personalizing things could back-fire

  • Not just about active cognition

    • Variety of issue types better than a lot of issues

    • Integrating information into a coherent whole is vital

  • Role of considering others and recognizing circumstances


Research team
Research Team

  • Faculty

    • Dr. Michael Mumford

    • Dr. Lynn Devenport

    • Dr. Shane Connelly

    • Dr. Ryan Brown

  • Graduate Students

    • Alison Antes

    • Laura Martin

    • Cheryl Beeler

    • Xiaoqian Wang

    • Chase Thiel

  • Funding

    • National Institutes of Health

    • Office of Research Integrity


Hypothesis summary
Hypothesis Summary

  • Situational

  • Conditions

  • Cause of event

  • Focus of Outcome

  • Outcome Valence

  • Reasoning

  • Strategies

  • Anticipating

  • Consequences

  • Recognizing

  • Circumstances

  • Considering

  • Others

  • Sensemaking

  • No. of Issues

  • Types of Issues

  • Information

  • Integration

Ethicality of Decisions


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