Nanotechnology and Ethics: The Role of Regulation Versus Self-Commitment in Shaping Researchers' Behavior

Matthias Fink, Rainer Harms, Isabella Hatak

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The governance of nanotechnology seeks to limit its risks, without constraining opportunities. The literature on the effectiveness of approaches to governance has neglected approaches that impact directly on the behavior of a researcher. We analyze the effectiveness of legal regulations versus regulation via self-commitment. Then, we refine this model by analyzing competition and autonomy as key contingency factors. In the first step, qualitative interviews with nanotechnology researchers are conducted to reflect this model. In the second step, its empirical relevance is tested using a survey of 90 nanotech researchers. The results indicate that legal regulations, as well as self-commitment to an informal CoC reduce the scope of behavior. Finally, that competition and autonomy affect the relative strength of these governance factors
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)569-581
    JournalJournal of business ethics
    Volume109
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Keywords

    • Code of conduct
    • Governance
    • Legal regulation
    • Nanotechnology
    • Research behavior
    • Self-commitment

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