Six Steps of Ethical Decision Making
Dr. Martin Lux, an applied developmental psychologist, has created his own community consultation and program evaluation business. He specializes in helping communities and service organizations set up day care programs for children aged 1 to 3 years. He wants to advertise his services on the Internet and is beginning to develop the following plan: To gain maximum exposure on search engines like Google, he will name the website “SuccessfulDayCarePrograms.org.” As a service to potential community clients, he will put links on his website to other online information about infant mental health and social and legal services available in different communities where he might find clients. He is currently under contract with a city agency. He helped the agency design a day care program for children of employees and is now in the process of evaluating its first year of implementation. He would like to ask a few parents whose children go to the day care program to endorse his new consultation service. He would use a picture of the parent and place the endorsement in quotes under the picture. The website will include a question-and-answer blog. Individuals can post questions to the blog about their preschool child’s development (e.g., toilet training, language development, social development, “terrible twos,” etc.), and he will post answers. Ethical Dilemma Dr. Lux is aware that he will have to ensure his website and blog have appropriate firewalls and other privacy and security safeguards. Beyond the technical aspects of implementation, however, he is unsure whether his plan requires additional ethical considerations. Discussion Questions Identify an ethical challenge for each element (a–d) of Dr. Lux’s advertising plan. Which APA Ethical Principles best help understand why these elements may create ethical problems? Who are the stakeholders in the advertising plan, and how will they be affected by how Dr. Lux handles each of the advertising elements? Is the name of Dr. Lux’s website potentially misleading? What ethical responsibilities does he have when he creates the website and sets up links to other service websites? Will the parents of children in the city day care center feel free to refuse Dr. Lux’s invitation to provide a testimonial? What professional risks and ethical problems might Dr. Lux have when answering parents’ questions on his blog? How are APA Ethical Standards 2.01b, 2.04, 3.05a, 3.06, 3.08, 5.01, 5.04, and 5.05 relevant to this case? For each aspect of the plan (a–d), generate ethical alternatives for creating an effective website to advertise Dr. Lux’s new community consultation service. Which alternative best reflects the Ethics Code aspirational principles and enforceable standards, legal standards, and obligations to stakeholders? Can you identify the ethical theory (discussed in Chapter 3) guiding your decision? What steps should Dr. Lux take to ethically implement his advertising plan and monitor its effect?
Apply the six Steps to Ethical Decision Making to the Case Study “Web-Based Advertising for a Community Program Development and Evaluation Consulting Service” (See Case 5. in textbook, page 437) to help Dr. Lux decide whether his plan requires additional ethical considerations