The Ethical Professor
eBook - ePub

The Ethical Professor

A Practical Guide to Research, Teaching and Professional Life

Lorraine Eden, Kathy Lund Dean, Paul M Vaaler

  1. 234 páginas
  2. English
  3. ePUB (apto para móviles)
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eBook - ePub

The Ethical Professor

A Practical Guide to Research, Teaching and Professional Life

Lorraine Eden, Kathy Lund Dean, Paul M Vaaler

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Información del libro

The purpose of The Ethical Professor is to provide a road map to some of the ethical dilemmas that doctoral students and newer faculty members are likely to face as they enter a career in academia (the Academy). Academic career paths appear to be quite standard, transparent, and achievable with dedicated and hard work. Argued in this book, however, is that the road map to a successful academic career is not so easy. There are ethical pitfalls along the way, starting with entry into academia as a new PhD student. These ethical dilemmas remain equally opaque as faculty progress in their careers.

The ethical pitfalls that plague each of the steps along the academic career path are often not visible to doctoral students and young faculty members; nor are they well prepared to spot them. Ethical issues are seldom discussed and little training is provided on how to spot and handle these potential road blocks to a successful career in the academy.

Based on extant research and collective years of academic experience, The Ethical Professor seeks to shorten the learning curve around common ethical pitfalls and issues by defining them, sharing research and experiences about them, and offering a discussion framework for continued learning and reflection.

This innovative new volume will be key reading for doctoral students and junior faculty members in social science departments in colleges and universities, as well as managers undertaking an MBA. Due to the increasing complexity of managing academic institutions, more seasoned professors, administrators, and college deans and presidents, will also benefit from the research presented here.

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Business Ethics



You’re on Your Way…

You have just landed your dream job – a tenure-track assistant professorship in your top-ranked choice for department and college. Your dissertation is done and defended. You’ve moved to your new university home; hung up pictures and your diploma on the walls in your new office; prepared and posted your course syllabuses; and are ready for the new semester. Congratulations!
The road ahead to tenure and promotion as an associate professor looks reasonably straightforward. You know that in your new academic home, faculty are judged on their performance on three metrics: research, teaching, and service (often referred to as the “Big Three”). In terms of research, in many departments (e.g., economics, management, or law) that means you need to turn your dissertation into several papers, published preferably in the top journals in your field. Or, your home may be in a department where a book published by a top university press is required (e.g., political science or international affairs). In terms of research, before the tenure clock runs out, you know that you need to have enough top-tier publications that your colleagues and external reviewers will judge your research performance as worthy of tenure and promotion. In terms of teaching, you know you must teach one or more courses each semester and get good (preferably great) student evaluations from your students. Lastly, you need to engage in some service activities both at your institution as well as in your professional association. The service dimension also looks reasonably straightforward.
However… lurking just below the surface of these three performance metrics are a variety of pitfalls – roadblocks, if you prefer to call them that – that can derail your plans for tenure and promotion and your movement up the ladder to career success in the Academy.1 These roadblocks are mostly invisible and little discussed among your colleagues so it is easy to not see them and make mistakes. What are they? Ethical dilemmas. An ethical dilemma occurs when individuals must make a difficult choice where values, rights, and/or responsibilities are potentially in conflict. Dilemmas are not clear cut – right or wrong – but rather choices between options with differing benefits and costs.

Purpose and Scope

As academics, we are judged annually in performance reviews based on our activities and accomplishments on research, teaching, and service. From the time we are admitted to graduate school as young PhD students through the time when we become senior faculty members in the Academy, we are “programmed” to be assessed regularly in terms of our performance.
Academic career paths appear to be quite standard, transparent, and achievable with dedication and hard work. However, we argue in this book that the road map to a successful academic career is not so easy. We know there are many ethical pitfalls along the academic life cycle. The ethical dilemmas that plague each of the steps along the academic career path are often not visible to doctoral students and young faculty members, nor are they well prepared to spot them. Ethical dilemmas are generally not discussed with or by the thousands of doctoral students and junior faculty in the Academy. Little to no training is provided on how to spot and handle these potential road blocks to a successful academic career. Moreover, these pitfalls can remain equally opaque as faculty progress in their careers to full and senior professors.
Based on extant research, our collective years of academic experience, and our own teaching and writings about ethics, we know that ethical pitfalls in an academic career life are not systematically brought to light during doctoral training, early career experiences, or even as we become more seasoned professionals. The purpose of our book is to highlight some of the most likely ethical pitfalls and suggest ways that doctoral students and junior faculty can prepare for and handle them. We argue that recognizing a decision as an ethical dilemma is the starting point, and that once recognized, there are ways to better handle it. In our book, we hope to shorten the learning curve around what we view as the most common ethical dilemmas by defining them, sharing research and experiences about them, and offering a discussion framework for continued learning and reflection.
The book is organized as follows. This chapter, the introduction, provides a brief history of how we came to write the book, an overview of the main topics, and an explanation of how the book can be used in the classroom and workshops. The main body of the book is divided into three parts, corresponding to the Big Three performance metrics on which faculty are judged: research, teaching, and service (professional life). The chapters in each part are roughly in chronological order, paralleling the academic life cycle from PhD student through promotion with tenure. Each chapter starts with key insights, follows with the body of the chapter, and ends with discussion questions and additional reading. The book includes multiple short cases and discussion questions that can be used to stimulate discussion in workshops and the classroom. Each of the three main parts also includes an interview with a well-known “thought leader” on ethics. The last chapter in the book, Connecting the Dots, summarizes the themes in each of the three parts (research, teaching, and professional life) and then discusses common themes and key insights across all three parts. The chapter concludes with some thoughts looking to the future for doctoral students and junior faculty in the Academy.

Who Should Read This Book

We view the core audience for this book as doctoral students and junior faculty members in social science departments in colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. Our book was written particularly for this audience.
We believe the book will also be useful for and of interest to three additional groups. First, our book should be useful for doctoral students and junior faculty outside of the social sciences, for example, in liberal arts, the physical sciences, and other professional schools. All of these disciplines are facing increasing pressures from external stakeholders to provide more transparency into what happens inside academia. While the norms and standards differ across the disciplines, the core ideas and philosophies are similar across academia. We share a commitment to high-quality research, teaching, and practice; to academic freedom, diversity, and inclusiveness; and to transparency and accountability.
Second, we believe our book will also be useful for doctoral students and junior faculty in countries outside of Canada and the United States, including both developed and emerging economies. North American academic norms are diffusing to universities and colleges of higher learning around the world. The same pressures to publish in “top-tier” journals (most of which have US-based publishers) face young professors whether they are located in Western Europe or Asia or South America. The same ethical dilemmas in teaching or service are likely to be even stronger in countries where corruption is rife and diversity issues (e.g., gender, race, or color) are viewed as unimportant.
Lastly, while we have aimed our book at doctoral students and untenured faculty, we believe our book is also useful for other faculty groups including non-tenure track lecturers, associate and full professors, administrators, and college deans and presidents. The increasing complexity of managing academic institutions and the proliferation of non-tenure track faculty (now more than 50 percent in many academic institutions) are well-known issues. For these groups, we also offer later career-stage dilemma identification and discussion points.

Who We Are

The three authors of this book are all tenured full professors in US colleges and universities. Lorraine Eden is a professor in the Management Department in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. Her graduate courses are also cross-listed as courses in the departments of International Affairs and Economics. Kathy Lund Dean is a professor in the Economics and Management Department at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota. Paul Vaaler is a professor in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he also holds a cross-appointment in the School of Law. Lorraine began her career as a lecturer in 1971, Kathy as an assistant professor in 1997, and Paul as an assistant professor in 1996, so together as of October 2017 we are now celebrating a total of 87 years as members of the Academy!
We all hold endowed positions and have received many awards and honors over our academic careers. As researchers, we have published multiple books and hundreds of journal articles. Kathy and Lorraine have been editors-in-chief and Paul associate editor at major journals. Our research and teaching interests span a wide variety of areas in business, economics, law, management, and political science. We have held and currently hold a variety of administrative and leadership roles in our universities and various professional societies. We have served as outside commentators, advisors, and consultants to individuals, firms, foundations, government agencies, the media, and international organizations.
What drew us together – and led to this book – is our shared interest in ethics. Kathy holds a chair in ethics at Gustavus Adolphus College and teaches courses in ethics. Lorraine is writing her third code of ethics for the Academy of International Business and teaches workshops on ethics in research. Paul has taught managerial ethics at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School and legal ethics at the University of Minnesota’s School of Law. All three of us have many and varied publications on ethics. In addition, for nearly four years (July 2011–February 2015) we were the inaugural writers on ethical issues for the Academy of Management (AOM) blog, “The Ethicist.”

Looking Back: From the Academy of Management’s “The Ethicist” to This Book

The AOM ethics blog had its genesis in the New York Times Magazine’s weekly column “The Ethicist,” written by Randy Cohen from 2003 to 2011. Lorraine Eden was addicted to reading Cohen’s column, which she saw as offering useful insights into ethical dilemmas that faced individuals in their personal and professional lives.
In 2007, newly appointed as editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Business Studies (JIBS), Lorraine had written the first JIBS Code of Ethics. In 2010, she chaired a committee tasked with writing an ethics code for the Academy of International Business; Paul Vaaler was also a member of that committee. As these activities were winding down, Lorraine accepted an invitation from James Davis and Susan Madsen, co-chairs of the AOM’s Ethics Education Committee (EEC), to join the EEC.
At the time, the EEC was looking for new ways to communicate with AOM members about ethical issues, and Lorraine saw an opportunity to develop an ethics blog similar to the New York Times’ “The Ethicist” column. Both the EEC and the AOM leadership endorsed the idea as a “Strategic Doing” initiative. Lorraine invited Kathy Lund Dean and Paul Vaaler to join her as the three co-bloggers and AOM’s “The Ethicist” blog went live in July 2011. Lorraine was responsible for the blog and for posts on ethics in research, Kathy for ethics in teaching, and Paul for ethics in professional life.
For each of us, writing “The Ethicist” was a labor of love. It was a 100 percent volunteer activity; we were not paid by nor received any financial support from AOM. For the first two years, the blog was available only to AOM members, but in May 2013, the blog moved to a publicly available website address: We continued to blog regularly until February 2015 when, after nearly four years of involvement with “The Ethicist,” we decided it was time to retire and “pass the baton” to a new group of bloggers.
After stepping down in 2015, we began to think and talk about how to save the content we had written. We knew that our blog posts were more similar to research notes than to a typical blog; for example, our posts were much longer and included references to the academic literature on ethics. A small group of volunteer faculty were invited to read our posts and provide feedback before we finalized them, thus providing a peer-review process and helping to ensure that our posts were of high quality. Because we had consulted regularly throughout the years of working and writing together, our blog posts had a synergy when read together, providing a conceptual flow that we believed could move to book form. We also believed that a book on ethics in academia would fill a hole in the available resources to doctoral students and young faculty members on how to navigate the tricky waters of a successful academic career.
So we selected the best and most useful of our blog posts, rewrote, and updated them as book chapters to reflect the most recent thinking (as of October 2017) on each topic. We also added new chapters to the book to fill missing holes on key topic areas. We arranged the chapters to parallel the stages in a young academic’s career from new PhD student through tenure and promotion to associate professor in our universities and colleges. We kept the division of the book into the three parts corresponding to the Big Three performance metrics of research, teaching, and professional life. Although we have jointly written and rewritten each other’s chapters several times in writing this book, the careful reader will probably still be able to hear our distinctive “voices” in each of the three core parts to the book.

Unique Features of This Book

First, the book occupies a unique ethics niche in the pantheon of books on life in the Academy by bringing together issues that can be found in disparate ethics works into one volume. There are a variety of books on ethics in research or ethics in teaching, for example, but very few that examine ethical dilemmas involved in all three performance metrics.
Second, we believe strongly in the value of ethics education to equip members of our profession to weather the inevitable ethical challenges they will face. We hope that our readers will find the diversity of our backgrounds and our multidisciplinary approach to ethics in the Academy together serve to provide readers with experiences they can relate to their own examples and situations.
Third, we have provided, where possible, disguised but detailed accounts of dilemmas our colleagues or students have actually faced, along with the unique feature of “the rest of the story” or how the situation was resolved. Each of us writes from a place of deep understanding of salient and timely topics, and we provide references and other support materials for each chapter.
Perhaps most importantly, our book provides strongly practical advice, helping readers move from reflection to action. Our approaches are fundamentally rooted in behavioral ethics, using research and experience to inform recommendations for action, while drawing on classic models and ways of thinking about ethics to ground the discussion for a broad audience. Although there are a variety of other books within the broad domain of ethics in academic life, we believe our book is unique in its focus on specific, actionable, and common ethical issues that may be experienced at each career life stage in the Academy.

How This Book Can Be Used

The book is designed for active engagement! Individuals from any of the groups we have identified as our potential readers should find our book helpful as a guide to what types of ethical issues might be faced at any stage of their career, and may find examples hit close to home.
An ideal setting for ethics discussions among doctoral students is in a course offered during the first year of a PhD program. Many graduate students arrive with little idea of what their course of study will include, let alone the trajectory of co-curricular work with junior and senior faculty and departmental staff. This book will provide those graduate students with an introduction to various ethical issues that swirl about those first-year curricular and co-curricular routines. Pairing this book with a first-year PhD course offered within a department, or across departments, will start important discussions and awareness early on for graduate students.
Ethical issues related to research are likely to dominate early discussions, with graduate students often occupied with a PhD course typically comprised of dozens of journal articles for review and analysis. But reference to teaching and professional life issues can also find a place in a PhD course – think, for example, how findings in journal articles are translated into MBA and undergraduate course topics, or how journal articles often begin as early-stage research presentations at professional meetings. Today, when PhD courses of study last from four to six years, thoughtful discussion and awareness of ethical issues in the first year will yield multi-year benefits both to the graduate students and the departments of which they are part.
An additional setting in which to use this book with junior faculty is at professional meetings, typically annual meetings of the academic associations that junior faculty and their senior faculty colleagues deem critical to attend and present at regularly. For business school academics, that might be the AOM annual meetings; for social scientists, the Allied Social Sciences Association meetings.
Annual meetings typically offer junior faculty career development workshops, styled as consortia, which are meant to share career experiences and best practices (and a few not-so-great ones) with peers. Senior academics typically comprise the faculty leading these consortia, and they have broad discretion on what to cover over a half or full day. This book fits very well in the pre-consortia reading list. Its inclusion will give consortia attendees a common understanding of ethical issues related to research, teaching, and professional life relevant to their careers right away, in the run-up to tenure and promotion review, and in the immediate aftermath. Discussion questions posed at the end of each chapter can serve as the basis for role-playing simulations involving consortia faculty and attendees. Where annual meetings also offer consortia for graduate students about how to finish their dissertation and go to the academic job market, this book can facilitate a similarly rich learning experience for faculty and attendees. In either setting, this book can provide valuable learning-by-reading and learning-by-doing in consortia settings.
We think this book is also useful as a reference for senior faculty charged with mentoring graduate students and junior faculty in the department or college. Sometimes it is difficult to broach ethical issues at all, let alone explain and work through them in ways that a fourth-year doc...


  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Dedication
  6. Table of Contents
  7. List of Illustrations
  8. 1. Introduction
  9. PART I: Ethics and Research
  10. PART II: Ethics and Teaching
  11. PART III: Ethics in Professional Life
  12. PART IV: Conclusions
  13. Index
Estilos de citas para The Ethical Professor

APA 6 Citation

Eden, L., Dean, K. L., & Vaaler, P. (2018). The Ethical Professor (1st ed.). Taylor and Francis. Retrieved from (Original work published 2018)

Chicago Citation

Eden, Lorraine, Kathy Lund Dean, and Paul Vaaler. (2018) 2018. The Ethical Professor. 1st ed. Taylor and Francis.

Harvard Citation

Eden, L., Dean, K. L. and Vaaler, P. (2018) The Ethical Professor. 1st edn. Taylor and Francis. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2022).

MLA 7 Citation

Eden, Lorraine, Kathy Lund Dean, and Paul Vaaler. The Ethical Professor. 1st ed. Taylor and Francis, 2018. Web. 14 Oct. 2022.