June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Educational Research and Methods
24.1294.1 - 24.1294.9
Understanding Team Ethical Climate Through Interview DataThis abstract is in the research category. The development of ethical awareness and ethicalreasoning is a critical part of engineering education. Appropriate assessments are needed todetermine if educational interventions are effective in developing these skills. Although thereare measures to assess general moral reasoning, such as the DIT2, they do not take intoconsideration the context of handling ethical situations in engineering rather than ethicalsituations in general. In addition, because most undergraduates learn to apply ethical reasoningto engineering through design courses that are taught in teams, it is important to understandimpact and dynamics of the team ethical climate.To address this need, our research team is developing instruments to assess both individual moralreasoning and team ethical climate in an engineering context. As part of the validation efforts,we have conducted individual interviews and team observations of students who are participatingin multidisciplinary project team programs at four different institutions to triangulate data fromother sources and aid in data interpretation. The authors have developed a coding scheme thataligns with the constructs present in these instruments, and analyzed 57 student interviews usinga typological analysis approach. Although initial codes were generated from the instruments,additional codes were added to capture addition themes contained in the data. We havecompared and contrasted findings emerging from data with interdisciplinary research to uncoverregular patterns of discourse (messages and interactions), team norms for ethical decisionmaking procedures, and other aspects that are part of team processes. Through this approach, theauthors have developed a deeper understanding of how students approach individual ethicalissues in an engineering context, as well as the team ethical climate from the perspective of thestudents who enact it.In this paper, we will present the results of the qualitative analysis of the interviews as they relateto the team ethical climate. For example, many participants talk about specific design prioritiesas an element of their team climate. The diversity of team members in terms of culture, skilllevel, and interpersonal characteristics has also emerged from this analysis as an important aspectof how students manage and perceive team climate. One of the strongest concepts is theinterdependent nature of the teams, which rely on each member to contribute to team tasks andseems to have a major influence on team climate. Finally, across the interviews, a commonthread in the respondents’ talk is the complex way they understand ethics. Often it is onlyidentified explicitly by the students if it is discussed in specific relation to ethical decisionmaking or considerations, but their talk indicates that these teams are encountering a number ofhighly ethical situations which they manage in interesting ways.This analysis enables the researchers to explore the constructs in these instruments from aqualitative vantage point, enriching our interpretation of the instruments and offering deeperunderstanding of how students themselves view and understand these complex issues.
Feister, M. K., & Zoltowski, C. B., & Buzzanell, P. M., & Oakes, W. C., & Zhu, Q. (2014, June), Understanding Team Ethical Climate Through Interview Data Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/23227
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