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PSY FPX 8740 Assessment 5 Ethical and Legal Aspects of I-O Psychology


Capella University

PSY FPX 8740 Industrial/Organizational Psychology Practices in Human Resource Management

Prof. Name


Exploring Ethical and Legal Dimensions in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Understanding the significance of ethical and legal considerations is crucial for professionals in Industrial and Organizational (I-O) psychology. Practitioners must not only excel in their specialized areas but also stay informed about legal frameworks and ethical standards impacting their practice (Black, 2016). This discussion focuses on the ethical and legal challenges in a specific case study, providing insights into potential approaches for resolution.

Ethical Dimensions in the Case Study

In a scenario involving a consultant psychologist hired by PurpleSky Inc., various ethical issues arise. A significant concern is the CEO’s autocratic leadership style, which creates a toxic organizational culture characterized by poor communication and low morale (Capella University, n.d.). Autocratic leadership, defined by centralized decision-making with minimal team input, has been linked to negative effects on team dynamics and performance (De Hoogh, Greer, & Den Hartog, 2015). Such environments can also increase employee stress levels, reducing productivity and well-being (Colligan & Higgins, 2006).

Another ethical dilemma involves the psychologist’s colleague suggesting compliance with the CEO’s request for team-building activities without addressing the underlying issues. This recommendation conflicts with the principles outlined in the American Psychological Association (APA) Ethics Code, particularly those related to fidelity, integrity, and the basis for professional judgments (APA, 2010). Fulfilling the request under false pretenses undermines trust, compromises professional integrity, and neglects the duty to prioritize scientific and ethical standards (Principles B and C; Standard 2.01).

Navigating Ethical and Legal Challenges

Addressing ethical and legal dilemmas requires a systematic approach, such as Rest’s Four-Component Model of Moral Behavior (1994). Firstly, moral sensitivity involves recognizing the ethical implications of one’s actions, emphasizing the potential harm of misrepresenting services to the CEO (Lincoln & Holmes, 2011). Moral judgment then involves evaluating potential solutions, such as transparently discussing organizational issues with the CEO or declining the assignment due to ethical conflicts. Moral motivation highlights the importance of prioritizing ethical considerations over personal interests, while moral character emphasizes the courage to uphold ethical standards in practice (Rest, 1994).

PSY FPX 8740 Assessment 5 Ethical and Legal Aspects of I-O Psychology

Confidentiality Challenges

Confidentiality presents another ethical challenge, especially regarding the psychologist’s responsibility to protect employee privacy (APA, 2010). Revealing the identities of employees interviewed to the CEO could breach their trust and livelihoods, violating ethical principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence (APA, 2010). Fisher (2008) advocates for establishing confidentiality protocols at the start of client engagements to mitigate such risks.

Future Directions in Ethical Research

Exploring the ethical dimensions highlighted in this case study offers avenues for future research. Investigating the relationship between toxic workplace environments and employee well-being can provide insights into reducing stress and enhancing organizational health (Anjum & Ming, 2018). Additionally, examining the impact of autocratic leadership on employee health and productivity can inform strategies for creating more positive work environments. Further, research focusing on confidentiality issues within autocratic leadership contexts can equip practitioners with practical frameworks for navigating complex ethical dilemmas.


American Psychological Association. (2010). Ethical principles of psychologist and code of conduct. Retrieved from

Anderson, C., & Brown, C. E. (2010). The functions and dysfunctions of hierarchy. Research in Organizational Behavior, 30, 55-89. doi:10.1016/j.riob.2010.08.002

Anjum, A., & Ming, X. (2018). Combating toxic workplace environment. Journal of Modelling in Management, 13(3), 675-697. doi:10.1108/JM2-02-2017-0023

De Cremer, D. (2006). Affective and motivational consequences of leader self-sacrifice: The moderating effect of autocratic leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(1), 79-93. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2005.10.005

De Hoogh, A. H. B., Greer, L. L., & Den Hartog, D. N. (2015). Diabolical dictators or capable commanders? an investigation of the differential effects of autocratic leadership on team performance. The Leadership Quarterly, 26(5), 687-701. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2015.01.001

Fisher, M. A. (2008). Protecting confidentiality rights: The need for an ethical practice model. American Psychologist, 63(1), 1-13. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.63.1.1

Colligan, T. W., & Higgins, E. M. (2006). Workplace stress: Etiology and consequences. Journal of workplace behavioral health, 21(2), 89-97. Retrieved from

PSY FPX 8740 Assessment 5 Ethical and Legal Aspects of I-O Psychology

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. (n.d.) About the society for industrial and organizational psychology. Retrieved from

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