Payment for Use of Name and Reputation
Professor Irvin Jones, a nationally reputed expert in measurement,
agrees to have his name used to endorse a book which guarantee students
successful scores passes on advanced graduate placement exams. He will
receive a fee for the use of his name.
Is this a question of "ethical behavior" on the
part of Professor Jones ?
What are Professor Jones' obligations as a
sociologist to verify
that the work to which he is lending his reputation and expertise are
Does it make a difference if Professor Jones was
reimbursed or not for his endorsement?
Reflect on the above questions and form your
own answers before clicking the discussion
key to review the commentary provided with this case.
Sociologists have an obligation to review and assess the accuracy of
claims if they are going to be used as experts, whatever the situation.
The fact that this case includes a fee is irrelevant. Dr. Jones
judge the fit of his expertise with the guarantee made by the book's
author and publisher. If Dr. Jones did the analysis or even if he
reviewed/reanalyzed relevant data on which the claims are made and was
led to similar conclusions, he may feel comfortable with this use of
his name to promote the product. However, how the product is being
promoted is also a central issue that must be examined. If the claims
made are a "stretch" from the findings of the data, they he should
refrain from having his name used. In general, the limits of our
scientific knowledge do not permit the granting of guarantees of the
sort made in this case.