Journal of Academic Ethics

, Volume 3, Issue 2–4, pp 205–229

Mapping our Progress: Identifying, Categorizing and Comparing Universities’ Ethics Infrastructures

  • Patricia C. Kelley
  • Bradley R. Agle
  • Jason DeMott

DOI: 10.1007/s10805-006-9014-4

Cite this article as:
Kelley, P.C., Agle, B.R. & DeMott, J. J Acad Ethics (2005) 3: 205. doi:10.1007/s10805-006-9014-4


Ethics researchers have scrutinized ethical business problems, which have been demonstrated through the actions of managers at Enron, WorldCom, and Arthur Andersen, among others. In response to these business transgressions, the US government has implemented the Sarbanes–Oxley Act to shore up businesses’ ethics infrastructures. However, universities, too, struggle with ethics problems. These include NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) violations, discrimination issues, sexual harassment, endowment admits, plagiarism, and research funding manipulation. Despite these problems, we have little knowledge regarding universities’ ethics infrastructures and codes of conduct, and insignificant empirical research on academic ethics issues (Kelley & Chang, Journal of Higher Education, under review, 2006; Morgan & Korschgen, College Student Journal, Sept., 2001). This lack of knowledge exists despite the critical role universities play in shaping the moral behavior of future generations (Langlais, The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 13:B11, 2006; Woo, BizEd, May/June:22–27, 2003). In this paper, we conduct exploratory research to identify the elements of universities ethics’ infrastructures. From our research, we develop an understanding of the ethics policies and infrastructure elements in place at a representative group of universities. We compare these infrastructures to those in business as well as across Carnegie Classifications. We then conclude with recommendations for developing university ethics infrastructures and suggestions for future research.

Key words

ethics codes University Codes of Conduct University Ethics Infrastructures 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia C. Kelley
    • 1
  • Bradley R. Agle
    • 2
  • Jason DeMott
    • 3
  1. 1.Business Administration ProgramUniversity of Washington, BothellBothellUSA
  2. 2.David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership Katz Graduate School of BusinessUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Microsoft CorporationRedmondUSA

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