- Share an insight related to your colleague’s chosen ethics or justice violation scenario.
- Offer another factor that might have contributed to the colleague’s suggested ethics or justice violation scenario.
- Validate an idea with your own experience.
- Expand on your colleague’s posting.
#1 P S
Case #30, Recording Data without Consent was selected for discussion this week. This case described the actions of an I/O Psychologist who intentionally and secretly recorded several employees of a large organization. The recordings were done by the I/O psychologists who was consulted to completed employee research surveys. It was during one of the interview sessions for the surveys that the I/O psychologist recorded participants of the study as they expressed concerns about management. The I/O psychologist while reporting to management the findings, revealed to them that he severely recorded participants of the study. Management asked the I/O psychologist to produce the tape; however, the request was denied, and he destroyed the tape to protect himself further. Management highlighted concerns for the I/O psychologist actions which was a blatant disregard and trust for the participants. Management also questioned the I/O psychologist lack of judgement which placed his needs above that of the participants (Schminke, 2010).
The situation being discussed was an individual lapse in judgment by the I/O psychologist who violated ethical principles and guidelines set forth by the American Psychological Association (2010) which states that no recording should be made without notifying the person(s) being recorded. Additionally, the I/O psychologists, knowingly and willfully deceived the participants being studied thus did not obtain a consent from them to record them as they provided valuable data. The I/O psychologist broke code of conduct by violating moral issues which caused harm to the participants (Schminke, 2010). According to Bandura’s social learning theory, there are two reasons why a person behave ethically and that is either because of self-monitoring and successful ethical experiences. Self-monitoring is described as the consistency/inconsistency of one’s behavior. Bandura states that when someone acts in a manner where their behavior is questionable, they begin to experience self-condemnation which are inconsistencies with their behavior as it relates to personal beliefs and values.
A way in which this ethical situation could have been avoided was by the I/O psychologist adhering to the American Psychological Association (2010) guidelines and notifying the participants that in order to ensure their concerns are not being misrepresented, a recording was being made, and their consent was needed. Additionally, the I/O psychologist could have demonstrated better respect for the rights and dignity of the participants by informing them of his plans to record their interviews. Additionally, participants should have been informed of the ways in which the recording was going to be used.
In Case 17, an internal consultant is tasked with distributing and analyzing feedback from 360° surveys. In order to save costs, the psychologist decides to utilize the firm’s in-house Management Information System’s (MIS) existing email system. This system works well to distribute the questionnaires and the respondents replied under what they believed to be anonymity. When the consultant received the database for analysis, however, she learned that there had been personal name identifiers that automatically recorded each respondents name. The consultant decided to use the information on the word of the MIS manager that the confidential information would not be released.
Several factors led to this ethical dilemma that could potentially unveil supposedly anonymous responders to colleagues that they work with as a supervisor, subordinate, peer or client. Initially, the in-house consultant was unaware of the MIS’ system complete procedure. When reviewing the cognitive process for ethical decision making, she might have been unaware that there was a moral issue at hand. As Schminke explains, that is the first step followed by developing a moral judgment about the situation which informs our moral motivation to determine our moral conduct and whether it is in line with what is considered appropriate by society (2010).
Organizationally, there seemed to be no policy or standard operating procedure regarding the delivery or analysis of surveys. Given social learning theory, did the consultant understand or have a model of the correct way to conduct an anonymous 360° survey to maintain the communicated anonymity? Situationally, the MIS manager seemed to also be uninvolved in understanding the needs of the project from the delivery of the emails through database analysis. Rogerson, Gottlieb, Handelsman, et al., explain that “it is essential that psychologists use empirical knowledge about the processes of judgment and decision making to improve ethical practice” (2011). A utility sanctioning system that would describe the unethical behavior could have made both the manager and the consultant more morally aware from the initiation of the project.