Research integrity as a collective phenomenon

Written by Eric Breit, Research Professor at the Work Research Institute at Oslo Metropolitan University

Research integrity is often presumed be located in the minds and practices of individual researchers. Integrity can also be claimed to have a collective nature by involving a number of individual researchers (Palazzo, 2007). Workplaces are examples of such collectives, either as physical contexts such as a research department or research project, or as virtual contexts such as research networks.

Workplaces are powerful forces that contribute to influence individual behaviour. This is among others because they comprise distinct cultural characteristics, i.e. distinct practices and beliefs regarding legitimate ways of conducting research (Schein, 1992). Workplaces with a focus on research integrity may thus discourage individual researchers into engaging in misconduct. Conversely, workplaces without such a focus may lead to the legitimation and normalisation of misconduct, a phenomenon that has been described as “normalised wrongdoing” (Palmer, 2012).