U02: Core of Ethics

When looking at the all the different types of ethical code, you start to see a pattern of defining characteristics each outline and at the core of each is integrity and the respect for human rights and dignity.  The American Psychological Association (APA) made changes to their ethical code from 2002 to 2010 to address the issue of human rights putting in their general principles the section the respect for people’s rights and dignity (APA, 2010).  If you look at the Academy of Management (AOM) code of ethics and the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), you see a very similar wording on the principles relating to people’s human rights (AOM, 2006 & CPA, 2000).  The National Association of Social Workers code of ethics looks different than the three mentioned above, but a central value they outline is of the worth and dignity of a person (NASW, 2008).  

When looking at the core of each ethical code, we can infer what values our society holds to the highest standards because “”ethics is concerned with the kinds of values and morals an individual or society finds desirable or appropriate” (Northouse, 2015, p. 330).  Values allow an individual to determine what they consider to be right/wrong or desirable/undesirable (PSU, n.d).  Taking into account that these code of ethics have been around since the beginning of 2000, we can assume that the majority of people value other people and believe that harming another individual is wrong.  Yet, to this day companies are still found contradicting these core values.  In September, Martin Shkreli became the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, where he raised the price of a life saving drug from $13.50/tablet to $750/tablet, quickly becoming the world’s most hated individual at the time.  More recently, Wells Fargo has come under fire as it was made public knowledge that they opened up millions of fake accounts without the customer’s knowledge.  And we cannot forget the current news surrounding the movement black lives matter.  With cases of ethical dilemmas still coming out concerning the rights of individuals, one must consider how the code of ethics and law come into play and how we as a society can start limiting the factors that play a role in these unethical behaviors.

The APA Code of Ethics, there are standards put into place that would  be beneficial, such as 1.03 Conflicts Between Ethics and Organizational Demands, which specifies that “under no circumstances may this standard be used to justify or defend violating human rights” (APA, 2010).  On a similar note, the AOM standard 1.6  Exploitative Relationship suggests that one does ”not exploit persons over whom they have evaluative or other authority” (AOM, 2006).  When looking at the NASW Code of ethics and the value of social justice, it is put into place that social workers “pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. Social workers’ social change efforts are focused primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice. These activities seek to promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression and cultural and ethnic diversity” (NASW, 2008).  When looking at the standards put into place with each code of ethics and how they relate to the core theme found relating to human rights and dignity, we start to see how these codes can be applied outside the situation in which they were intended.  By applying these standards and principles to all situations, one might be able to solve the ethical dilemmas they are faced with in a correct manner and in return our society may begin to see less cases like the ones mentioned above.    



Academy of Management. (2006). Code of ethics. Retrieved from http://aom.org/About-AOM/Code-of-Ethics.aspx

American Psychological Association. (2010, June 1). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct: Including 2010 amendments. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/

Canadian Psychological Association. (2000). Canadian code of ethics for psychologists (3rd ed.). Retrieved from http://www.cpa.ca/aboutcpa/committees/ethics/codeofethics/

National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/

Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications

Penn State University (n.d.). L01 Overview of Ethics. Penn State World Campus. Retrieved from Penn State University Ethics and Leadership: https://psu.instructure.com

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