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Understanding Team Ethical Climate Through Interview Data

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Conference

2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Student Learning, Problem Solving, & Critical Thinking 3

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

24.1294.1 - 24.1294.9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/23227

Download Count

39

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Paper Authors

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Megan Kenny Feister Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Megan K. Feister is a doctoral candidate in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. Her research focuses on organizational identity and socialization, team communication, ethical reasoning development and assessment, and innovation and design. Megan holds a B.A. in communication from Saint Louis University and a M.A. in Organizational Communication from the University of Cincinnati.

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Carla B. Zoltowski Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Carla B. Zoltowski, Ph.D., is Co-Director of the EPICS Program at Purdue University. She received her B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering and Ph.D. in engineering education, all from Purdue University. She has served as a lecturer in Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Zoltowski’s academic and research interests include human-centered design learning and assessment, service-learning, ethical reasoning development and assessment, leadership, and assistive technology.

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Patrice Marie Buzzanell Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Patrice M. Buzzanell is a Professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication and the School of Engineering Education (courtesy) at Purdue University. Editor of three books and author of over 140 articles and chapters, her research centers on the intersections of career, gender, and communication, particularly in STEM. Her research has appeared in such journals as Human Relations, Communication Monographs, Management Communication Quarterly, Communication Theory, Human Communication Research, and Journal of Applied Communication Research, as well as proceedings for ASEE and FIE. A fellow and past president of the International Communication Association, she has received numerous awards for her research, teaching/mentoring, and engagement. She is working on Purdue-ADVANCE initiatives for institutional change, the Transforming Lives Building Global Communities (TLBGC) team in Ghana through EPICS, and individual engineering ethical development and team ethical climate scales through NSF funding as Co-PI. [Email: buzzanel@purdue.edu]

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William C. Oakes Purdue University, West Lafayette

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William (Bill) Oakes is the Director of the EPICS Program and Professor at Purdue University. He is one of the founding faculty members in the School of Engineering Education with courtesy appointments in Mechanical, Environmental and Ecological Engineering as well as Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education. He has received numerous awards for his efforts at Purdue including being elected as a fellow of the Teaching Academy and listed in the Book of Great Teachers. He was the first engineer to receive the U.S. Campus Compact Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service-Learning. He was a co-recipient of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering’s Bernard Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education and the recipient of the ASEE Chester Carlson Award for Innovation in Engineering Education. He is a fellow of ASEE and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).

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Qin Zhu Purdue University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6673-1901

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Qin Zhu is a PhD student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. His main research interests include global/comparative/international engineering education, engineering education policy, and engineering ethics. He received his BS degree in material sciences and engineering and first PhD degree in philosophy of science and technology (engineering ethics) both from Dalian University of Technology, China. His first PhD dissertation on improving the practical effectiveness of engineering ethics that draws on theories in hermeneutics, practical philosophy, and discourse ethics has recently been awarded the "Outstanding Dissertation Award" in Liaoning Province, China.

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Abstract

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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