AUTHOR_1: Stephen P. Borgatti
AUTHOR_2: Jose-Luis Molina
TITLE: Toward ethical guidelines for network research in organizations
SOURCE_TITLE: Social Networks
SUMMARY: The authors continue the work begun in Borgatti and Molina (2003), in which they discuss the various ethical issues that are unique to the collection and analysis of social network data in the context of organizations. In particular, the issue of what data are disclosed to management and how these data or results are subsequently used by management are of major concern to the researcher. First, because the short-term validity of responses is at risk if participants begin to view participation as dangerous in career terms. Second, because the long-term viability of network research is increasingly compromised if researchers cannot obtain the voluntary participation and unbiased cooperation of respondents. As in the 2003 piece, major issues that make Social Network Analysis unique on ethical grounds are discussed. A major conclusion and extension put forward in this article is that research in organizations fundamentally involves three parties, not two: the researcher, each subject, and the organization itself. Therefore, it is suggested that researchers develop separate contracts and forms for both the participants and the organization that explicitly spell out the expectations and the provisions for the protection of individual participants throughout the course of the study. Examples and templates for these forms are provided as appendices.
REVIEWED BY: jrh
LABELS_FULL: 2005, journal, jrh, reviewed, research ethics, confidentiality, organizations, human subjects protection, management disclosure contract, truly informed consent, deductive disclosure, institutional review board