Teachers’ openness to violation of ethical decisions

Önen, Özgür
The purpose of this study was to understand if teachers in Turkish public school violate their ethical decisions for the sake of stakeholders; namely, students, colleagues, parents and managers. Additionally, the impact of the demographic variables, gender, years of employment, and the level of the organization was investigated after controlling for the effect of the personal moral philosophy orientations. A pilot study with 176 teachers from all level of the public schools was conducted to understand the validity and reliability of the Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ) scale (Forsyth, 1980) and Openness to Violation of Ethical Decisions scale (OVED). After removing eight items of EPQ scale, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses revealed satisfactory results for reliability and validity of the scale. After conducting exploratory factor analysis for OVED scale in the pilot study, partial least squares-structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) was used for the evaluation of the OVED scale. Both of the results supported the validity and reliability for OVED scale for further analysis. The main study was designed as causal-comparative study, and the participants were comprised of 540 teachers from 111 public schools from nine different districts of Ankara Turkey. Yet, 508 of the completed inventories were suitable for the analysis. In order to collect the data, an inventory consisting of two scales plus a section consisting of questions for gathering demographic information from the teachers were used. The first scale, the openness to violation of ethical decisions for the sake of the stakeholders scale (OVED) was developed for this study. The second scale, Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ), which was developed by Forsyth (1980) and was translated into Turkish by Marta, Singhapakdi, Lee, Burnaz, Topcu, Atakan, and Ozkaracalar (2012) for measuring the teachers’ idealism and relativism levels. Both descriptive and inferential statistics techniques were used for the data analysis. Exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis were used for EPQ. For the OVED scale exploratory factor analysis and PLS-SEM were conducted. IBM SPSS Statistics 22 was used for descriptive and inferential statistics techniques and for exploratory factor analysis. For confirmatory factor analysis of EPQ, AMOS 18 was used. Finally, for the OVED scale measurement model evaluation SMART PLS 2.0 was used. Results of main study revealed that teachers may violate their own ethical decision for the sake of the stakeholders, both in morally high and low intense conditions. After controlling for the impact of ethical positions, no significant change was found for the OVED scale scores with regard to gender, years of employment, and level of the organizations. However, idealism and relativism levels of teachers showed significant effect on teachers’ openness to violation of their ethical decisions. These findings suggest that in rare conditions, teachers may perform something unethical for the stakeholders even if they feel that the act in question involves high degree of moral intensity. It is advisable for decision makers in educational system to be aware that teachers may behave very differently than what they actually believe right.


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Citation Formats
Ö. Önen, “Teachers’ openness to violation of ethical decisions,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2014.