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Case 15. Non-academic Settings


G.T. Research Associates is hiring part time employees for a six month project to do telephone interviews. They were awarded this contract because they substantially underbid two other research consulting firms and they are eager to "get off the ground" with their new venture. They are able to hold down their costs because they have access to a large pool of part-time undergraduate students who have been in their classes and who have few other job opportunities in this small community. The wages they pay are low and they save on training costs because students have had some beginning research training in their courses.


  1. Are the employers' wage setting practices in this captive labor market ethical? What are their obligations to former students and other potential employees in ensuring fair employment practices? Would this be different at an expensive liberal arts college compared to a community college located in the inner city?
  2. What is the likelihood that these researchers can draw on the semi-trained skills of their former students? DO they have an obligation to the granting organization to ensure that they have a sufficient employment pool? A well-trained employment pool?

Reflect on the above questions and form your own answers before clicking the discussion key to review the commentary provided with this case.