The president of a small survey research firm, Mike Brown, receives a
contract from a local government agency to conduct a survey of the
local community to help design a policy on the most effective use of
funds used to pay for heating costs of the low income and the older
population. Mike has a professional interest in energy-related
policies, so he includes three extra questions in the survey (at no
cost to the government agency and without telling them) that he planned
to analyze for a presentation at a professional meeting.
After the survey was done, Mike used the questions, along with two others collected for local government and some demographic data to prepare the paper. He did not ask the government agency for permission to use the data or allow them to review the paper because he said the data were public and the extra questions he subsidized.
1. Did Mike inappropriately use the questions
collected in the survey?
2. Was it appropriate to add the additional questions without telling the government agency?
3. Would it have been acceptable to analyze only the questions he subsidized?
Reflect on the above questions and form your own answers before clicking the Discussion key to review the commentary provided with this case.