Ethical aspects of the work of a psychologist in an organization
The general principles of building a democratic society presuppose that the observance of the interests of an individual person should be given a certain priority in this society. Due to the specific nature of the subject matter of applied psychology, the person's personality, this key position acquires special importance in the professional activity of a practical psychologist working in a variety of fields. Proceeding from this, the issues of observing the ethics of applied psychological research of various kinds, are now becoming quite a relevant aspect of the professional work of a psychologist. In the most general sense, the main task of a psychologist here is to do no moral harm to people with whom he works, performing his professional activity.
As in other spheres of practical professional activity, psychological work in the field of organizational psychology requires the observance of a number of ethical principles and rules. At the same time, most often the main reasons for the violation of ethical principles of work in the field of organizational psychology are related, first, to the general ethical immaturity of some psychologists, and secondly, to their low professionalism.
Ethical immaturity is that some psychologists are poorly aware of the rather serious responsibility that the functions of their work in the organization place on them. Therefore, they often use different psychological technologies not to create conditions for the optimal work of the organization, but for some other purposes. In turn, low professionalism is the inability to competently perform their work, i.e. correctly formulate the problem, clearly define the tasks of their work, choose the tool of their work, conduct an applied research and correctly interpret its results.
The above reasons, on the one hand, in many respects cause the emergence of various kinds of ethical problems in the work of the organizational psychologist. On the other hand, they define two basic ethical principles of work in the field of organizational psychology, the observance of which will help the psychologist to cope with these problems to some extent.
1. The principle of responsibility. This principle assumes that the psychologist must understand that his actions significantly affect people who make up the collective of the organization. Therefore, he must remember the responsibility before them and justify the trust placed on him by these people. In this regard, in his work the psychologist should strive for impartiality and objectivity, and also recognize the right of any person to act according to his views and beliefs. The psychologist must resist any personal, social, organizational and political factors that could lead to abuse or misuse of his knowledge and skills.
2. The principle of competence. This principle implies compliance with a number of professional requirements:
- The psychologist should be aware of all the regulatory requirements governing his professional activities;
- a psychologist should be guided by scientific and professional standards and apply only tried and tested methods in his work;
- The psychologist should use only those methods of work that correspond to the level of his qualifications;
- The psychologist should clearly understand the boundaries of his competence. He must deal only with those types of work that do not exceed the boundaries of his professional competence;
- A psychologist can only occupy positions that allow him to occupy his qualifications.
Based on the principles of responsibility and competence, it is possible to define a number of other more specific ethical guidelines that determine the interaction of the psychologist with the employees of the organization when performing their professional activities:
1. The main ethical duty of the psychologist in his professional relations with the employees of the organization is to respect the personal dignity of each of them and to maintain their mental well-being.
2. In his professional work, a psychologist should avoid ambiguous relations, i.e. relations that go beyond just professional interaction, since such relations can negatively affect the effectiveness of its work. This includes family, social, financial, business, administrative, as well as personal relationships with employees of the organization.
3. The psychologist should avoid actions aimed at meeting his own needs and harming the interests of the organization and its employees. He should not impose his personal attitudes, beliefs and values on people.
4. In his work, a psychologist should respect the differences between people with whom he works, taking into account their age, gender, cultural, national, religious and other characteristics.
It should be noted that most often the work of a psychologist in an organization is to conduct a variety of psychological surveys that involve the use of various procedures for collecting information. This may include procedures for interviewing, questioning, psychological testing, etc. In this case, individual employees of the organization, as a rule, act as direct participants in the survey, i.e. as the surveyed persons. In this regard, the psychologist should remember that employees of the organization who can be involved in his work as surveyed persons should enjoy a number of ethical rights.
1. Any employee of the organization has the right to agree or disagree to participate in a psychological survey. To decide whether to participate in it as a subject, the person should know why the survey is being conducted, the purposes for which the results will be used, who will receive the information received during the survey, and what consequences this will have for him. It should be noted that one of the problems related to the awareness of the person about the aims and tasks of the research is that the maximum full awareness of this kind quite often can distort the results obtained. In these cases, before starting the examination, the psychologist can give only the most general information, and more in detail to reflect it after all the results are obtained. However, in any case, the person should not be subjected to a fraudulent examination.
2. Any employee has the right to personal secrets. The right to personal secrecy can be defined as a person's right to decide how widely he can share his feelings, thoughts and facts of his personal life with other people. In practice, this right should be realized by giving the person the opportunity to refuse to participate in the survey in general, or the opportunity not to answer questions reflecting, in his opinion, the information that he would like to keep secret. Here, however, it is necessary to remember that if the survey participants hide too much information about themselves, then it may, in the long run, lose its value. Therefore, the psychologist must ensure that the person surveyed maximally trusts him. Naturally, at the same time a person should be sure that all the information he communicates to the psychologist about himself will be confidential.
3. Anyone has the right to the confidentiality of the use of information. This right is that the results of the survey of employees of the organization should not be available to a wide range of people. Therefore, the circle of persons who will be allowed access to the results of a psychological survey should be strictly defined. At the same time, each employee should be informed about who will have access to the results of his survey.
Note that the issue of the confidentiality of information use is one of the main ethical issues of the professional work of a psychologist. However, the difficulty here lies in the fact that ts or other limitations in the confidentiality of information use are largely determined by the purposes and tasks of obtaining it.
For example, if one of the employees appeals to the psychologist with a personal request for help in overcoming any of their own psychological difficulties arising in his work, then in this case the results of the survey of this employee can not be provided to anyone, including the management of the organization, if the employee himself does not consent to this. The survey can also be conducted simultaneously both for the benefit of the employee himself and for the benefit of the organization. In this case, to use the results obtained within the framework of this organization, the additional consent of the employee is not required. However, for the transfer of information received outside the organization, its consent to this is necessary.
In addition, the obligation to preserve the confidentiality of information becomes invalid if the provision of the law obliges the psychologist to report the information received.
4. The employee has the right to be informed about the results of the survey. This right is that a person, at his request, should receive information about what results of the survey he received. However, depending on the purpose of the survey, the completeness of the reflection of this information can be different. So, for example, when reporting that a candidate for a job does not meet the requirements, the fullest information about the results of the survey will be superfluous. However, if the work is carried out in order to improve the psychological climate of the collective of the organization, then the awareness of employees about their psychological characteristics can largely help them overcome the difficulties that they have in the process of interpersonal interaction.
In addition, it is necessary to avenge that when reporting the results of a survey, it is necessary to take into account the characteristics of the person to whom they are targeted, because different people can perceive differently the results of a survey of their personal characteristics, their intellectual abilities, their abilities, etc.
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