IT’S IRONIC that most of the research described in this book about ethics uses deception. There are so many influences that happen simultaneously to cause unethical behavior that conclusions are pure guesswork. It is only through experimental research, by strictly controlling the circumstances, that we can take each influence one at a time without the others to see if it indeed has an impact. Deception is one way research tightly controls the circumstances.
The difference is, deception in research is scrutinized before each study and revealed afterward. Today, all research done in universities must be reviewed by an ethics committee before the researcher is allowed to proceed. Deception is only used if the committee makes the judgment that the benefit of the potential gain of knowledge outweighs the effect of deception on the subjects. At the end of the experiment, subjects are always debriefed, that is, the purpose of the experiment and the deception used are explained to them in detail. They are left with the truth.
THIS BOOK OFFERS a taxonomy of traps that can be used to analyze ethical dilemmas and issues. The analysis may be done informally in the context of our personal lives or more officially in business meetings or other organizational forums.
The traps in this book often involve self-deception. This taxonomy gives us leverage to perceive the truth by identifying the group and