Contrasting the American College of Healthcare Executives' Code of Ethics with Undergraduate Health Administration Students' Values and Ethical Decision Choices

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Although administrative ethics are imbedded into the code of ethics of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), understanding the values and ethical decision-making practices of health administration students can help shape content and curriculum for health administration programs in the future. The study surveyed a sample of under-graduate health administration students to examine their sense of honesty and ethical decision-making practices. The sampled students completed the Comparative Emphasis Scale, which measured the student's sense of honesty, fairness, and integrity, and 10 short cases of administrative ethical issues derived from the ACHE Code of Ethics. The findings from the study indicated that the health administrative students had moderate to high mean scores on the ethical scales measuring achievement (15.86), concern for others (17.82), fairness (17.67), and honesty (18.21). The students' overall mean score for the 10 ethical cases was 3.51 on a 5-point scale, with 1 indicating a low likelihood and 5 a high likelihood. Pearson's product-moment correlation coefficient showed a minimum relationship between results of the Comparative Emphasis Scale and responses to ethical decision-making cases, and it showed no significant relationship between race, gender, and class (freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior) of the students. The results of the study have indicated that the sampled undergraduate health administration students respond at a moderate to high ethical level to this standardized scale and cases involving ACHE administrative ethical issues. Future research should explore the relationship between select variables concerning employment history, industry, position, and demographics characteristics in people's ethical choices.

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