Clinician, student and faculty perspectives on the audiology-industry interface: implications for ethics education
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Objective: Supporting audiologists to work ethically with industry requires theory-building research. This study sought to answer: How do audiologists view their relationship with industry in terms of ethical implications? What do audiologists do when faced with ethical tensions? How do social and systemic structures influence these views and actions? Design: A constructivist grounded theory study was conducted using semi-structured interviews of clinicians, students and faculty. Study sample: A purposive sample of 19 Canadian and American audiologists was recruited with representation across clinical, academic, educational and industry work settings. Theoretical sampling of grey literature occurred alongside audiologist sampling. Interpretations were informed by the concepts of ethical tensions as ethical uncertainty, dilemmas and distress. Results: Findings identified the audiology-industry relationship as symbiotic but not wholly positive. A range of responses included denying ethical tensions to avoiding any industry interactions altogether. Several of our participants who had experienced ethical distress quit their jobs to resolve the distress. Systemic influences included the economy, professional autonomy and the hidden curriculum. Conclusions: In direct response to our findings, the authors suggest a move to include virtues-based practice, an explicit curriculum for learning ethical industry relations, theoretically-aligned ethics education approaches and systemic and structural change.