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Based on the results of a study conducted in 1988 in conjunction with the Center for Advanced Purchasing Studies (CAPS), Janson concluded, "Ethical challenges have dramatically increased for purchasing personnel as well as for management in general." With the business environment in general becoming increasingly competitive and tumultuous in recent years, those in the purchasing and materials management profession continue to face a very challenging ethical environment. This article reports the key findings and implications of a recent study of NAPM members - both C.P.M.s and non C.P.M.s - conducted to get an updated and expanded picture of the ethical environment faced by those in the field of purchasing and materials management. In addition to identifying the key ethical issues faced by purchasers (a task undertaken periodically in the past by other researchers), the study also sought to identify the key factors that help or hinder purchasers' efforts to respond effectively to ethical dilemmas encountered in their work. The study was also designed to permit a comparison of the findings among various NAPM members, including those who do and do not hold the C.P.M. designation, and those at different organization levels.
GENERATION OF THE STUDY DATA
The Survey Instruments
Information for the study was gathered by surveying selected groups of NAPM members (see Table I). Two survey instruments were used: (1) a questionnaire to gather information concerning the key ethical issues facing purchasing and materials managers and (2) a questionnaire to gather information concerning the factors that help and challenge managers when they encounter ethical dilemmas at work. Each questionnaire also gathered information about the respondents and their companies that could be used to further analyze the information gathered.
The issues questionnaire presented forty-four ethics-related statements (see Table II, p. 4). Since the forty-four statements included in the survey varied in their form of presentation - i.e., some reflected ethical conflicts that must be faced, some reflected unethical behaviors in response to ethical dilemmas, and a few presented general situations that may give rise to ethical dilemmas as well as other problems - these statements simply will be referred to as "issues." Survey participants were asked to indicate the extent to which each issue presents problems for purchasing and materials managers by rating the issue on a five point scale. The first forty issues listed in the questionnaire reflect ethical issues facing businesses and employees in general. The last four are ethical issues of special relevance to professionals. The list of issues reflects the authors' previous research in the field of business and professional ethics as well as the inputs of selected individuals from the field of purchasing and materials management. As a cross-check on the completeness of the list of issues, respondents were also asked to indicate and rate any other ethics issues currently presenting problems for the profession. Finally, an open-ended question asked respondents to describe the most important ethics problem facing those who work in purchasing and materials management.
The helps/challenges questionnaire presented a list of sixteen resources (see Table III, p. 7) that may be helpful to individuals when they encounter ethical dilemmas in the course of their work (hereafter referred to as "helps"). This questionnaire also presented a list of twenty-one "challenges" (see Table IV, p. 8) to individuals attempting to act ethically in their work. With respect to the sixteen listed helps, survey participants were asked to indicate the extent to which each of the resources is or is not helpful to them in responding to the ethical dilemmas they encounter in their work on a five point scale. With respect to the twenty-one listed challenges, respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which each of challenges hindered their efforts to act ethically at work on a five point scale. In the case of both the helps and the …