I/O psychology practitioners who work as independent consultants and coaches address a wide variety of organizational and individual issues such as change management, team building, training and development, performance improvement, communication challenges, leadership skills, and career planning. While this work can be exciting given its variety, it can also be challenging when ethical dilemmas arise. For example, a consultant who is assisting with change management efforts may be asked to withhold layoff information from affected employees until the very last minute. Doing so would benefit the organization but would pose hardships to employees who could have had more time to secure another job had they known about the layoffs in advance. In addition, a coach who fails to establish a coaching contract with the organization and the client up front may be torn between protecting the client’s confidentiality and providing the client’s supervisor with information that could be used to terminate the client.

In this Discussion, you will identify ethical dilemmas that may arise in consulting or coaching and discuss how to best resolve the dilemmas, using relevant ethical standards and decision-making models.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Read Chapter 9 in the APA Handbook of Ethics in Psychology, Chapter 1 in The Ethical Practice of Consulting Psychology, and the articles about coaching. Consider ethical issues that may arise during coaching.
  • Read the assigned cases in The Ethical Practice of Psychology in Organizations and in Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of The Ethical Practice of Consulting Psychology. As you read each case, think about ethical dilemmas that are presented, the applicable ethical standards, and the critique of the I/O psychologist’s actions.
  • Review the APA Ethics Code and the coaching ethics codes. Identify ethical standards that apply to consultation and coaching.
  • Think about an ethical dilemma that an I/O psychology practitioner might encounter as a consultant or coach. You may use the cases from this week’s Learning Resources as inspiration, but your example should be original.

By Day 3

Post an ethical dilemma that an I/O psychology practitioner might encounter as a coach or consultant. Provide enough specific information such that your colleagues can respond with the actions they would take to resolve the dilemma.

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