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Organizational Influences on Scientific Intergrity

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The success of the scientific enterprise ultimately depends on the integrity of the scholars conducting the research. Accordingly, there is a need to understand the organizational or situational factors that influence integrity in scientific work, in order to provide guidance about the kind of organizational actions that might be taken to minimize incidents of misconduct. This study examines the influences of situational factors operating at three different levels on unethical decisionmaking. Additionally, the relationships of individual attributes to integrity are examined, particularly as they interact with situational influences to impact integrity. Three hundred advanced graduate students will be asked to participate in a study of scientific problem solving. These graduate students will be drawn from five to ten departments in three broad areas: health sciences, biological sciences, and social sciences. The overall sample will comprise 100 graduate students in each area. Students will be asked to complete a series of measures assessing situational influences on integrity operating at individual, group and organizational levels. Responses to these measures will describe the environment of participants' departments, research groups, and individual educational experiences. Participants will also complete three work sample assessments of integrity and inventories assessing various individual attributes such as cognitive ability and personality. Correlations of the situational factor and individual attribute scores with the work sample integrity assessments will be used to identify situational variables that have the strongest relationships to integrity. A general structural model will be developed to describe how situational variables operate to influence integrity related decisions within and across different scientific disciplines.

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