Throughout the course of your life and your career you will find yourself in different ethical situations. There may be rules you need to follow at work, there could be expectations your family and your partner have of you, and you may personally hold yourself to a level of morals and ethics. We all have ethics whether it be work ethic or personal ethic. PSY (2017) states, How do you know which ones to adhere to? Generally speaking, you should simply choose the code that your professional association has created.
APA consists of 5 principles. They are general enough that they could be subject to interpretation, so I will show you how I managed to interpret and apply them to my personal and professional life.
Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmalificence. PSY 533 (2017) states this to be comprises of two ideas; working to benefit those who you are professionally engaged and doing one’s best to avoid harming others. APA (2010) states, psychologists strive to be aware of the possible effect on their own physical and mental health on their ability to help those with whom they work. In my personal life, I feel that I am doing my best to avoid hurting those close to me. I am a good friend, sister and daughter. I do what I can to help my family and at the end of the day, often put their needs before mine. Professionally I come to work on time, I am reliable, I am loyal to my company and I do my best to get along with others and help my team be successful by being a team player. To me this principle is all about not being selfish but really making sure that you are doing the right thing to not cause harm or upset – regardless of if it is in the office or in the family. Sometimes the best way for me to do this, is to understand that not everyone has the same personality as I do and therefore my approach or opinion about things may cause them to become upset or judge me in a negative way. I learned a long time ago that sometimes, as innocent as I feel my expression of my opinion may be, it can still hurt others when I didn’t intend it to.
Principle B: Fidelity and Responsibility. PSY 533 (2017) states, this principle focuses on trust. The person should behave in ways that build trust. APA (2010) states, Psychologists uphold professional standards of conduct, clarify their professional roles and obligations, accept appropriate responsibility for their behavior, and seek to manage conflicts of interest that could lead to exploitation or harm. I take this as a challenge as I feel that as humans we are always quick to judge (I feel it is a natural reaction) and then we need to make sure that our first impressions with others is a good one because we want people to like and trust us. I think in personal relationships this is important as it appears to be one of the factors that relationships are based off of. The same applies at work for me. When I am part of a new team I have members that I need to build trust with and that I need to trust as this is what contributes to our success as a group. I do my best to remain professional and I work to clarify roles and responsibilities both in my work life and my personal life. Being clear and simple is sometimes the easiest and allowing others to share their input has proven to build trust for me in both capacities.
Principle C: Integrity. PSY 533 (2017) states, work to be accurate and truthful in statements and work in general. APA (2010) states, psychologists do not steal, cheat or engage in fraud, subterfuge, or intentional misrepresentation of fact. I feel that we all have to take part in integrity of the information we share with others and the quality of what we put out there for both work and personal. Integrity in huge in assisting with trust which was noted in principle B. I feel that integrity needs to be applied in one’s personal relationships and work as well as their professional lives. If we do not have integrity we can cause harm and loss of trust to others which will make it harder to apply these principles.
Principle D: Justice. PSY 533 (2017) states, this principle is primarily about fairness and equal quality to all served. APA (2010) states, psychologists exercise reasonable judgement and take precautions to ensure that their potential biases, the boundaries of their competence, and the limitations of their expertise do not lead to or condone unjust practices. I feel that in my professional life I have been able to apply this more than in my personal life. In my professional life even though I may have a bias on how a project should be run, or what we do to fix issues – I let my opinion be heard but I also value other’s choices and opinions and work hard not to shoot them down. If there is a large impact that I feel is a risk and we need to make a decision I will proceed with that – however, if there is an issue that I feel people can learn from and it doesn’t cause a big risk I allow others to learn from their experiences. This allows me to continue to make the right judgement but also value others and allow them to trust me without compromising the integrity of the business or being a leader.
Principle E: Respect of People’s Rights and Dignity. PSY 533 (2017) states, respect people’s rights and dignity in order to strive to eliminate biases and protect those they work with by treating all people as if they are worth the same as any other. APA (2010) states, psychologists are aware of and respect cultural, individual, and role differences including those based on age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, culture etc. In my professional life I honestly talk and act the same way toward the Janitor as I do the CEO. We are all people, we all have stories and we all are there working toward the same goal. For me I do not see “levels” and structure. I see one big team that is working toward a goal and we are all intricate parts in order to achieve that goal. For me it is not important to act differently, just be part of the team and respect my fellow team members and the roles they play regardless of where they fall in the structure.
PSY (2017) states, How do you know which ones (principles) to adhere to? Generally speaking, you should simply choose the code that your professional association has created. I hope this helps to show how regardless if we are psychologists or not, principles can be applied to both our personal and professional lives. It may help us be able to be better leaders, influencers, partners and family members if we can just align a little with some structured ethics.
American Psychological Association. (1992, December 1). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct (1992). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/code-1992.aspx
American Psychological Association. (2002, December). Redline comparison of APA ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. December 1992 and December 2002. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/92-02codecompare.pdf
American Psychological Association. (2010, June 1). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct including 2010 and 2016 amendments. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/
PSY 533 (2017). L05: APA Ethics code. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1868786/pages/l05-introduction?module_item_id=23063388
PSY 533 (2017). L06: Other Ethics Codes. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1868786/pages/l06-introduction?module_item_id=23063403