Table of Contents

Situations Related to Ethical Principles

1. Fulfilling the letter or the spirit of the law?

2. Ensuring diverse points of view

3. Putting a square peg in a round hole

4. Protecting an individual's right to privacy

5. Ethical decisions in instructional media selection

6. Computers: Issues of health and safety

7. Adopting and promoting new ideas

8. A clash of cultures

9. Harassment, bias, and discrimination

10. Whose views? Yours or your institutions?

11. All the facts, please

12. Competing with your employer

13. Handling gifts, gratuitites, and favors

14. Engaging in fair and equitable practices with vendors

15. Greasing the squeaky wheel

16. Influencing your colleagues

17. Exploiting professional affiliations

18. Helping one another

19. Is honesty the best answer?

20. An ethical approach to doing business

21. Fair assignment of responsibility

22. Facing new copyright challenges

23. When a colleague is wrong

Exploiting Professional Affiliations

The Situation
Harry Truhart has been director of a media center for a medium-sized school district for six years. He also teaches evening classes for a local community college and is well liked by students and faculty. In addition to his regular duties, he serves as an agent for some companies that manufacture and distribute audiovisual supplies and equipment. He is an active member of his state and national professional associations and not only proudly participates in their meetings and activities but also prominently displays his memberships on his business cards and stationery.

In an effort to be helpful to his professional associates working within his state and some surrounding states, Harry occasionally sends out letters to fellow association members informing them of new products they might find useful. Sales are made through him at discount prices substantially under the retail prices charged by other dealers.

One day, a professional colleague questioned the appropriateness of Harry's solicitation and sales activities. Harry's response was immediate and jovial. He indicated that the state association should give him an award for keeping members informed of some of the latest technological developments and for all of the money he has saved those who have purchased supplies and equipment through him.


Discussion

The AECT Code of Ethics—Section 3, Principle 3
In fulfilling obligations to the profession, the member shall avoid commercial exploitation of the person's membership in the Association.

Members of the Association have inescapable professional obligations with respect to employment and their relationships with colleagues, students, and others who they serve. These relationships are based on mutual respect and good faith. Therefore, it seems questionable for a member to solicit and sell commercial products to professional associates or students.

It also appears that, ethically, it is a very sensitive area for a member to accept compensation from producers and distributors when one's status and recommendations affect the purchase of such supplies and equipment.

Furthermore, it also seems questionable for Harry Truhart to engage in gainful employment outside of his school district contract where this employment could adversely affect his professional status and impair his standing with students, associates, and the community.

Jefferson N. Eastmond, Sr.
President, Worldwide Education & Research Institute
Salt Lake City, UT


Updated January 21, 2008
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