Business research ethics

Published on January 31, 2023   23 min
Hi, I'm Dr. Sue Greener. I'm an honorary fellow of the School of Business and Law, the University of Brighton in the UK. I spent many years supervising business research projects, both at universities and in companies. I've also had the pleasure of leading ethical reviews of a broad range of such projects for two universities.
I'm hoping that this short talk will let you into a few ideas which can help you when preparing ethics applications for business research or simply planning to do this research well. Whatever your research methodology, whatever rationale you've chosen to underpin your study, there must be an ethical statement and that's just a matter of thorough planning. While it's clear to all that medical research must be carefully bound by explicit ethical principles, for example, the Helsinki Declaration calls for all medical research involving human subjects to be preceded by careful assessment of predictable risks and burdens to the individuals and the groups involved. But I suppose if you're conducting business research, sometimes the risk may seem a bit less obvious, but there are some and they're only mitigated by careful planning and approval of the research design, the methodology, data collection analysis, and presentation of the study. We wouldn't expect business researchers to set out deliberately to deceive, to plagiarise, or to commit fraud, but less than scrupulous gathering of responding consent, less than factual presentation of data and obfuscation of writing can all lead to poor academic outcomes. We aim in this talk to set out the ethical basics for business researchers. We want to give you some clear examples.