Approving or Improving Research Ethics in Management Journals
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Despite significant scholarly debate about knowledge production in the management discipline through the peer-review journal processes, there is minimal discussion about the ethical treatment of the research subject in these publication processes. In contrast, the ethical scrutiny of management research processes within research institutions is often highly formalized and very focused on the protection of research participants. Hence, the question arises of how management publication processes should best account for the interests of the research subject, both in the narrow sense of specific research participants and in the broader understanding of the subject of the research. This question is particularly pertinent in light of significant codification of research ethics within academic institutions, and increasing self-reflection within the management discipline about the “good” of management research and education. Findings from a survey and interviews with management journal editors (and others involved in journal publication) reveal a complex scenario; many editors believe that a formalized requirement within the journal publication process may have detrimental outcomes and, in fact, diminish the ethical integrity of management scholarship. Building on these findings, this paper argues that ethical concern for the research subject merely in terms of institutional rule compliance and avoidance of harm to individual participants is insufficient, and calls for explicitly positive engagement with both the individual and the collective subject of management research should receive due ethical consideration. An alternative model involving reflexive ethical consideration of research subjects across the publication process—with implications for role of authors, reviewers, editors, and research subjects—is outlined.
KeywordsResearch ethics Publication ethics Academic ethics Human subjects Ethics committees Research education Research training
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