Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 1305–1322

Case-Based Ethics Instruction: The Influence of Contextual and Individual Factors in Case Content on Ethical Decision-Making

Authors

    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Oklahoma
  • Chase E. Thiel
    • Central Washington University
  • James F. Johnson
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Oklahoma
  • Shane Connelly
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Oklahoma
  • Lauren N. Harkrider
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Oklahoma
  • Lynn D. Devenport
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Oklahoma
  • Michael D. Mumford
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Oklahoma
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11948-012-9414-3

Cite this article as:
Bagdasarov, Z., Thiel, C.E., Johnson, J.F. et al. Sci Eng Ethics (2013) 19: 1305. doi:10.1007/s11948-012-9414-3

Abstract

Cases have been employed across multiple disciplines, including ethics education, as effective pedagogical tools. However, the benefit of case-based learning in the ethics domain varies across cases, suggesting that not all cases are equal in terms of pedagogical value. Indeed, case content appears to influence the extent to which cases promote learning and transfer. Consistent with this argument, the current study explored the influences of contextual and personal factors embedded in case content on ethical decision-making. Cases were manipulated to include a clear description of the social context and the goals of the characters involved. Results indicated that social context, specifically the description of an autonomy-supportive environment, facilitated execution of sensemaking processes and resulted in greater decision ethicality. Implications for designing optimal cases and case-based training programs are discussed.

Keywords

Case-based instruction Ethical decision-making Ethics cases Teaching ethics

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012