Staff/employees or partner organisations

There are general staff/employee ethical issues to consider that directly relate to your organisation and to your partnership work with other organisations. These issues may relate to:

  • Informed consent - when obtaining informed consent from staff or employees within your own organisation, some factors may affect voluntary informed consent. For example, power imbalances may become a barrier to obtaining genuine informed consent as employees may feel that participation is not voluntary (NHMRC, 2007). This may also apply to partnership work between organisations. It is useful to have a plain language statement that says consent is voluntary or, in cases of low English literacy, a script that can be read or translated and interviewer verified (NHMRC, 2007).
  • Dual relationships - these occur when the person conducting the evaluation or research has another (or several) existing relationship(s) with evaluation participants. This dual relationship may influence consent processes or lead to potential conflicts of interest in a partnership. If this is the case think about how the dual relationship can be managed to protect the interests of participants without compromising the integrity of the evaluation (DHHS, 2018). For further reading see the DHHS Project Specific Guidelines section on dual relationships.
  • Conflicts of interest - a conflict of interest means a situation in which the aims of different parties are incompatible. A conflict of interest can occur both when the evaluator is internal or external to an organisation or partnership. Independence and impartiality are central to the credibility of an evaluation however employing an external evaluator is often more costly. If resources are limited, consider integrating mitigation strategies to manage potential conflicts of interest as they arise.