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Ethics in Personnel Psychology. How do we define professional ethics?. “Professional ethics are simply codified rules about acceptable and unacceptable behavior within a professional context” (Lowman, 1991, p. 197). . Sources of Ethical Guidelines in Personnel Psychology (1). Societal Level

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How do we define professional ethics
How do we define professional ethics?

  • “Professional ethics are simply codified rules about acceptable and unacceptable behavior within a professional context” (Lowman, 1991, p. 197).


Sources of ethical guidelines in personnel psychology 1
Sources of Ethical Guidelines in Personnel Psychology (1)

  • Societal Level

    • Everyday morality

    • Law

  • Organizational Level

    • Organizational policies

    • Contractual obligations

    • Organizational norms and values


Sources of ethical guidelines in personnel psychology 2
Sources of Ethical Guidelines in Personnel Psychology (2)

  • Professional level

    • Scientific ethics

      • Norms of science (empiricism, transparency, independent replication)

      • Relevant documents (APA/AERA Standards for Educational and Psychological Tests)


Sources of ethical guidelines in personnel psychology 3
Sources of Ethical Guidelines in Personnel Psychology (3)

  • Professional ethics

    • Codes of professional conduct (Specialty guidelines for the delivery of services by I/O psychologists, Ethical principles of psychologists; other relevant professional association codes of ethics [SHRM])

      • Issues include: obligations to client and employees, technical competence, accurate representation of qualifications and products, professional relationships


Sources of ethical guidelines in personnel psychology 4
Sources of Ethical Guidelines in Personnel Psychology (4)

  • Personal ethics

    • Personal and religious morals

      • (would you work for a tobacco or pornography company?)

    • Obligations to employer, self, and family


Ethical dilemmas and sources of ethical transgressions
Ethical dilemmas and sources of ethical transgressions

  • Conflicts among sources of ethical guidelines

    • scientific ethics and practitioner ethics

    • laws and professional and scientific ethics

    • organizational policies and: scientific and professional ethics, personal ethics


Ethical dilemmas and sources of ethical transgressions 2
Ethical dilemmas and sources of ethical transgressions (2)

  • Causes of ethical conflicts

    • conflicts in goals, roles, values


Examples of ethical conflicts
Examples of Ethical Conflicts

  • Should a physician report an illegal immigrant to the INS (as Prop. 187 requires) or follow professional code to do what is in the patient’s best interests?

  • Should an I/O psychologist give manager’s the names of employees who indicate pro-union attitudes on an employee survey?


Resolving ethical conflicts
Resolving Ethical Conflicts

  • Address possible sources of conflict before proceeding with a project

  • Deal with conflict right after it happens; do not let it linger

  • Surface and discuss issues


Questions to consider 1
Questions to Consider (1)

  • Can ethical conflicts be prevented?

  • How should conflicts of interest be dealt with?

  • What do you do if a conflict cannot be resolved

  • What do you do if you think that someone is behaving unethically?


Questions to consider 2
Questions to Consider (2)

  • What are possible business and financial consequences of ethical transgressions?

    • Damage to reputation

    • Loss of confidence

    • Loss of business