In 2001, tax organization, QRS Tax, equips their field teams with many Fast Facts to rebuttal common misconceptions of QRS Taxes’ quality of service.
- “We find extra money in 4 out of 5 tax returns completed by competitors!”
- “Our tax fraud product protects you 100%!”
- “QRS Tax professionals know taxes for failure to obtain health insurance can be waived. Work with the best!”
The unsettling note about each of these Fast Facts is they didn’t have the proper research or sourcing to prove validity. This is most likely why employees of QRS Tax were never allowed to write or publicize these Fast Facts but only speak of them. QRS Tax employees were told that they all had the proof but that the message was more impactful when spoken direct to consumer than on any flyer or poster. Additionally, individual market reports indicated contradicting evidence if anyone looked into it. Corporate town halls where these Fast Facts were communicated though claimed these were based on national data (unverifiable by individual markets). During a very tight season that is tax season, most were too busy to challenge the reporting’s and thus went to market sharing these ‘facts’.
APA code ethical standard 8.14, sharing research data for verification, states “after research results are published, psychologists do not withhold data on which their conclusions are based from other competent professionals who seek to verify the substantive claims … unless legal rights concerning proprietary data preclude their release” (Lowman, 2006). This same principal can apply to the leadership case as outlined. In the case, research results, based on national data, has been shared with all field associates. This data however fails to provide the data to verify the facts nor does it contain any legal rights preventing the sharing of the sourcing due to proprietary data.
Additionally, APA Code ethical standard 8.02, Confronting Ethical Issues, states a psychologists commitment to, “take steps to resolve the conflict in a responsible manner” (American Psychological Association (APA), 1992). Leadership within the organization at all levels could and should have challenged the validity of these Fast Facts or reported contradicting evidence through appropriate channels adhering to “the requirements of the law, regulations, or other governing authority” (APA, 1992).
Principle C, Integrity, of the APA code brings these standards together and states, “psychologists should work to be accurate and truthful in their statements and work in general” (PSY 533, 2018). In their current operation, QRS Taxes’ marketing leaders are perceived as not acting with integrity with their half answers and incomplete reporting of their Fast Facts. The implications that can result from the suspected unethical behavior could result in possible legal violation. Under the APA guidelines, “such actions are a professional responsibility and serve to protect the well-being of clients and others, including the public at large, who may be affected by the problematic behavior” (Lowman, 2006).
If QRS Tax were to govern themselves with the APA code as their guide for ethical behavior, issues such as the one outlined shouldn’t occur. Furthermore, if QRS Tax were to govern themselves with the APA code, they would have resolute clarity on violations from the code and could make necessary action to resolve and deter further violation from the code.
American Psychological Association. (1992, December 1). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/code-1992.aspx
Lowman, R. L. (Ed.). (2006). The ethical practice of psychology in organizations (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
PSY 533. (2018). L05: APA Ethics Code. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1896721/modules