Business Research Ethics: Job Satisfaction Research
The Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industry is among one of the most dynamic industries in the world. The products they produce touch almost every one of our lives. These products require a tremendous skill base to maintain operations to a level that satisfies all of the quality, volumes, and responsiveness that society needs, and at the times required. As a result, many of these industries institute extensive research, not only with the external customers of the business, but internally. This research involves personnel who manufacture, produce and involved in the day to day activities of production. Taking an ethical approach to this research is an integral part of not only maintaining an adequate skill base, but also in assuring the environment for highly ethical practices and those involved are adequately protected.
Actavis Pharmaceuticals is an industry giant. With a span of operations in approximately 100 countries, they maintain a culturally rich and diverse workforce. With all the benefits this brings, there are also numerous challengesat must be met. Actavis's actions are an effort to acquire and retain the brightest technical minds in the industry, to support their development, manufacturing and distribution sites. To do so, they utilize a variety of job satisfaction surveys. These surveys are designed to not only gauge their levels of satisfaction. They also provide an opportunity to voice their opinions on opportunities they feel are either being missed, are potential or are not being managed appropriately. The obvious potential is that operations have an opportunity to utilize the minds of an entire organization, rather than a much smaller base of executives, greatly expanding the company's potential in the market.
To collect the necessary and appropriate information, the business researchers must sometimes incorporate several research studies concurrently. These can include research and descriptive studies to gather the necessary data required to conduct a thorough study. Many often additionally involve an explanatory study, which can tie the specific variables together into a cohesive explanation and or reasoning. The primary research occurs in either a small group format or in a one-on-one basis. Much of the information gathered is confidential and if not properly protected, could likely result in unforeseen consequences that further, could jeopardize current or future studies. Therefore, the ethical norms or the manner by which the study occurs is critical to its success. “Norms promote the aims of research, such as knowledge, truth, and avoidance of error” (Resnik, 2011, What is Ethics in Research & Why is it Important?, para. 7)
There are several things that should be addressed when conducting business research in this manner, and specific areas or unethical practices to avoid. “Both the spirit of the regulations and good science require that individuals give thoughtful consideration to the decision to conduct research with human subjects” (Human Subjects, n.d., para. 1). It is critical to ensure that only the specific information necessary to answer the goals of the study is used by the researchers so that the study is conducted in a controlled manner. Exceeding these controls could potentially create undesired consequences or involve the inappropriate divulgence of unintended personal information. Violations of participants confidentiality agreements can have not only legal ramifications, but additionally have an egregious effect on the trust of individuals involved in the conducting of future studies. Manipulating data collected or improperly making inferences into results prior to the conclusion of a study can have a detrimental effect on the results. It would also suggest there was either a bias or intended pre-determined direction that the study was to take.