Ethical Dimensions of the Innovator Role Essay

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Ethics is a term that is commonly used to refer to appropriate rules of conduct or moral guidelines that govern people’s behaviors and actions. Additionally, ethics is a terms that refers to standards or norms for differentiating between right and wrong (Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching, n.d.). As a result, ethics has become an important component in research because researchers have a moral responsibility to safeguard their research participants when conducting a study. Experiment ethics has become a common feature in modern research practices because of the role and significance of the moral responsibility that researchers have as they conduct their study.

One of the most famous and compelling psychological researches that highlight experiment ethics is The Stanford Prison Experiment, which provided a simple narrative regarding human nature (Resnick, 2018). According to McLeod (2017), this research was conducted to examine how willing and ready people would adapt to roles of prisoner and guard through a role-paying exercise that fabricated prison life. The study’s participants were randomly assigned to either a prisoner or guard role in a fabricated prison environment at Stanford University. Given the findings of this experiment, it’s usually considered as the most compelling psychological study regarding human nature and included in multiple introductory psychology textbooks and cited without criticism.

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Even though The Stanford Prison Experiment provides significant insights about human nature, it was characterized by some ethical failings. The major ethical failure in this experiment is the lack of protection for research participants. The researchers failed to meet their moral obligation of safeguarding research participants when conducting the study. After commencement of the experiment, participants who were assigned the role of prison guards started mistreating participants who played the role of prisoners with a view of demonstrating that evil is a by-product of circumstance (Resnick, 2018). Since the prison simulation was kept as real as possible, participants who played the role of prisoners were subjected to inhumane treatment like real-life criminals. They were arrested at home without any prior warnings and taken to a police station where they were subjected to inhumane treatment. The desire to kept the simulation as real as possible provided a loophole for the mistreatment of some of the research participants and the ethical failure of the researchers to protect these participants.

The mission of the Brandman University Institutional Review Board is to “protect the rights of human research….....

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Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching. (n.d.). Ethics in Experimental Research. Retrieved from Grand Canyon University website:

McLeod, S. (2017). Stanford Prison Experiment. Retrieved August 8, 2018, from

Office of Institutional Research and Planning. (n.d.). Brandman University Institutional Review Board. Retrieved from Brandman University website:

Resnick, B. (2018, June 13). The Stanford Prison Experiment was Massively Influential. We Just Learned it was a Fraud. Vox. Retrieved August 8, 2018, from

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