PSY FPX 6740 Assessment 5 Ethical and Legal Aspects of I-O Psychology
Phillip April 16, 2024 No Comments

PSY FPX 6740 Assessment 5 Ethical and Legal Aspects of I-O Psychology

PSY FPX 6740 Assessment 5 Ethical and Legal Aspects of I-O Psychology


Capella University

PSY FPX 6740 Industrial/Organizational Psychology Practices in Personnel and Human Resource Management

Prof. Name



The first thing we need to do is identify the issue. I’ve been brought in by MacDonald Pfiffer to conduct some team building here at Purple Sky, Inc. After speaking with your colleagues, I have found that there are some communication issues and some potentially problematic leadership. Before we dive into the issues I’ve found, let’s take a step back and remind ourselves; what are APA ethics?

APA Ethics Principles

  • Principle 1: Beneficence and nonmaleficence
  • Principle 2: Fidelity and Responsibility
  • Principle 3: Integrity
  • Principle 4: Justice
  • Principle 5: Respect for people’s rights and dignity (Ethical principles of psychologists and Code of Conduct, n.d.)

PSY FPX 6740 Assessment 5 Ethical and Legal Aspects of I-O Psychology

We want to be ethically and morally sound in order to help our peers. There are many ways we can open up the conversation about how peers feel like they are being treated. We can use resources such as dilemma stimulus training cards, CAPE bingo, and other resources on the SIOP official website (Blackman, n.d.). There are four main ethical theories:

  1. Teleology – justifies morality based on the outcome of the consequences
  2. Deontology – the right actions must be consistent
  3. Relativism – humans have a natural inclination to moral acts
  4. Virtue theory – people will act good based on their character traits

In an organization, the best course of action is deontology. We must be consistent in our actions and outcomes or else it may be perceived as unfair to other colleagues and peers if we are not consistent.

The Issue

The feedback we are getting from our peers per conversations I’ve had with an employee, a manager, and a fellow colleague at Purple Sky, it is clear that there is a miscommunication issue as well as a poor management style. Both of these issues fall into the category of organizational culture. First and foremost we need to have moral awareness on an individual level and an organizational level (O’Reilly & Aquino, 2011). Then we need to make a moral judgment. Aka my manager never listens to me even when I present them with data and evidence that we need to do things differently. We need to follow this up with ethical behavior. We cannot allow the organization to keep doing something that may be ethically wrong so you need to speak up and speak out. Talk with colleagues, other managers, and/or senior leadership.

Analyzing Ethical Issue

Since there are communication issues and senior leadership even went as far to ask not to focus on managers, only employees; this is workplace inequality. The senior leadership is ignoring any wrongdoing since it is by management which is unfair and will cause employees to leave and not feel safe/respected in their work environment. We also need to be very cognizant of the fact that it was a female employee who felt as though her male manager was not listening to her and lacked good communication skills. Is this because he innately lacks basic comprehension or is this a deeper-rooted issue that he ignores her because of her gender? Gender inequality is still a very commonplace issue in the workplace.

Gender Inequality

Gender inequality will be something that is written in an HR policy as not permitted but oftentimes people have unconscious biases and may not even realize they are treating women unfairly. The same goes with other minorities, management may not realize that they treat women as less than just as they may not realize when they’re being culturally disrespectful of a Muslim man who works for them. This all can stem from a lack of understanding and lack of training. This is why it will be important to implement workshops, where managers get the opportunity to play out scenarios and understand how to handle situations.


While considering colleagues’ opinions can often give you an outside perspective on a situation, as an I-O practitioner, you should never feel swayed in making any decision nor should it hinder your ability to help the organization. If the issue lies with leadership, they would benefit from a workshop just as much as the rest of the employees. We would do well to keep in mind the justice principle. If we hold employees to a different standard than management, it will create an imbalance and it will not be just. In a work environment, morale is just as important if not more important than the pay and if we are not just and fair, it will cause people to leave.

Ideas for Resolution

How can we resolve the gender inequality in the workplace? Firstly, we need to address that it is happening. Then we need to create trainings, reenact scenarios, provide visual aids, and create a safe space for women to speak up (Dashper, 2019). All managers must comply with rigorous training yearly. They need performance appraisals from their employees so they can be assessed by how well they manage their team and their rate of turnover due to an employee getting a promotion within the company should count in a positive light for the manager as that means they are giving their employees the necessary tools to grow. Creating a separate, monthly forum for female employees to share what’s on their minds and allow them to take ownership of their careers will empower them and in turn enhance their job performance and happiness (Zhuzwayo, 2016).


I/O psychologists face many of the same ethical issues that practitioners and researchers in other subfields of psychology do, including confidentiality. As noted by the American Psychological Association (APA), all psychologists need to be mindful that people are “multicultural beings” and that individuals’ life experiences are shaped by their cultural perspectives. However, there are also ethical, legal, and diversity issues unique to the practice of I/O psychology, in part because the application of I-O research affects individuals’ employment, and thus their livelihood. I-O psychologists follow the current APA Ethics Code which lays out ten standards addressing issues of competence, human relations, public statements, record keeping, education and training, therapy, ethics, privacy and confidentiality, research and publication, and assessment (Cascio & Aguinis, 2011).


While there are some overlaps between Human Resources and I-O practitioners, a third party is likely to be more objective, morally sound, and have the means to further stakeholder interest because of their experience and sense of legal obligation. The way people are managed and how leadership is greatly impacting the view on work life. Since employees are unhappy and communication is lacking, we will start with a workshop on how to improve workplace communication. For leadership, we will sit down one-on-one and discuss what it means to be a good leader. Some people can be so tenured, they forget what it’s like. Then we will have a roleplaying workshop where the employees get to manage the managers and see how quickly a resolution can be made.


Blackman, G. (n.d.). Committee for the advancement of professional ethics (CAPE). Retrieved from Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology:

Cascio, W., & Aguinis, H. (2011). Applied psychology in human resource management. (7th ed.). Prentice Hall.

PSY FPX 6740 Assessment 5 Ethical and Legal Aspects of I-O Psychology

Dashper. (2019). Challenging the gendered rhetoric of success? The limitations of women-only mentoring for tackling gender inequality in the workplace. Gender, Work, and Organization, 26(4), 541–557.


ical principles of psychologists and Code of Conduct. (n.d.). Retrieved from American Psychological Association:

O’Reilly, J., & Aquino, K. (2011). A Model of Third Parties’ Morally Motivated Responses to Mistreatment in Organizations. Academy of Management Review, O’Reilly, J., & Aquino, K. 36(3), 526–543.

Zhuzwayo, Z. (2016). Separate space: An approach to addressing gender inequality in the workplace. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 17(4), 91-101.