Situation 1

I would kindly decline the client’s request and not provide the list of companies engaged in the survey to the client. My judgement takes into consideration the right approach method. For one, according to the scenario, the client asks my company to take a business-to-business market research and present the research results to him by delivering presentations. Since providing detailed information of the survey is not contained in the contract between the two sides, the client does not have rights to ask for the list of companies involved in the research, and I have the legal right to refuse his request.

For another, we reassured participants that any of their information would be confidential and not be used for any other purpose except for the research. We have to respect participants’ right to be informed and right to privacy. If I provided the list of respondents to the client’s, I would unethically violate their forgoing rights. Moreover, the justice approach might support my decision, as the client tend to obtain more benefits than research respondents while the respondents paid more costs. Finally, personally, I would not be comfortable if people known that I leak my respondents’ information to my clients unethically. Therefore, I would not offer my clients the list.

In this case, the utility approach is not applicable, as it is very difficult to identify whether the benefits of providing the list to the client would overweigh the costs. As for benefits, the client could get more acknowledge on the market and is more likely to launch targetable products, which might bring the client more lucrative opportunities, while the respondents (companies in the market for the client’s service) probably could be better satisfied with targeted products and service provided by the client. The costs are the violation of participants’ privacy and their ability to refuse.

Situation 2

I would not take this advice when conducting interviews. Based on personal experience, although we do have some interviewees become reluctant to stop once the interviews begin, many of them are those who would not mind engaging in long interviews. In many cases, people might be annoyed when they find you cheating on them. Based on the justice and the right method, falsely claiming that the survey will “only take a few minutes” is unethical and the suggestion should not be accepted.

In accordance with the justice approach method, the distribution of benefits and costs between the interviewer and interviewees is an unfair one. Undoubtedly, the interviewer would gain more benefits by cheating respondents on the length of the interviews once their wiles take effect. In the meantime, the interviewer bares the risk of exasperating their interviewees. By contrasts, this action would violate participants’ right to be informed while bringing little benefits for them. The disproportionate distribution of benefits and costs caused by the cation suggests its unethicalness.

From the perspective of the right approach, as previously mentioned, this action violates participant’s right to be informed, which indicates that participants should be informed with all aspect of what is required from them. Considering that it is almost unable to measure the overall benefits and costs, notably, the utility approach method is not applicable under this circumstance. Finally, the Practical Guidelines for Ethical Analysis (Archie & Buchholtz, 2009) provides several personal standards to identify whether a situation is ethical or not, including whether an action violates one’s common sense, whether an action accords with one’s perception of “best” self, and whether one would be uncomfortable if their behavior were known by other people. Personally, this action violates my perception of the superiority of participants’ right, and if I conducted this action, I would afraid of being known by others. I would therefore not take this advice.

Situation 3

I would definitely not research as the client proposed, using wrong research method is not only unethical but inefficient. However, since the purposes of my researches are to serve all classes of clients, I would certainly not refuse her bluntly and say that we do not welcome her if she would not change her mind.

As a researcher in a commercial organization, instead of declining her proposal unhesitatingly, I would attempt to persuade her the essence of research and the effectiveness of an appropriately conducted research. For one, an effective research requires appropriate research methods, otherwise, the research would bring about unreal results. Despite these research results caters managers’ expectations, the significant issue is that the research cannot reveal the real potential and property of the product, therefore, cannot provide guidance for the marketing activities or relevant activities. For another, only appropriately conducted research can reveal the strengths and weaknesses of a products, which might provide unpredict inspirations for product designers and marketing activities.

Undoubtedly, I would not replicate the previously conducted wrong research to the product as it is unethical. According to the utility approach method of ethical reasoning, applying the wrong qualitative study to another new products is ineffective, which is a waste of social resource and does no good to the marketing of the product. It is a common sense of market researchers that we have to apply appropriate research methods according to the specific theme and purpose of the research. The client’s proposal goes against our common sense and therefore is unethical in accordance with the Practical Guidelines for Ethical Analysis (Archie & Buchholtz, 2009). Based on previous discussions, I would firstly attempt to persuade the client and inform her with principles of conducting effective research to see whether I could change her mind; but since her original proposal is unethical, I would unquestionably not conduct completely inappropriate research to cater her requirements.