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The Impact of Societal Norm Essay

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Updated: Apr 24th, 2020

Role of Ethical Standards in Psychology: Focus on Societal Norms

Ethics refers to the acceptable code of conduct upon which individuals’ behavior may be perceived as right or wrong depending on societal norms.

However, having a generally acceptable code of conduct has faced controversies, with different thinkers coming up with various theories to attempt to develop the standards. This has led to diverse views on what is ethical and what is not ethical among different communities or social groups. Philosophy and religion are the major ways of attempting to establish the generally acceptable principles in these settings (Wright, 2000).

In the field of psychology, debates and discussions on the role and need for ethics code arose due to increased tasks and social interactions of psychologists with members of society before and after the second world war.

In this epoch, the psychology as a field was increasingly expanding, and thus come the year 1947, the American Psychological Association (APA) appointed a committee for the ‘Ethical Standards’ whose mandate was to establish code of ethics for psychologist, with the specific aim of changing human behavior (APA Council of Representatives, 2003).

Role of ethical standards and codes and norms in the field of psychology

Broadly, ethics code is indicative of moral norms underlying the values of psychology as a profession. As in many professions, ethical norms in psychology are geared towards achieving morality associated with ‘doing good’ causing no harm, respecting others and their dignity, and being fair and honest with everyone.

Norms in a profession refers to the ideals of that profession and defines distinct behavior types (dos and don’ts) that guide the professionals as they conduct their business. In a sense they guide the conduct of the individuals involved and provide the ground upon which the codes are assessed (APA Council of Representatives, 2003).

The specific roles of these norms and codes of ethics include the following: One is the establishment of the professions integrity. This role is largely associated with creation and maintenance of the professions capability based on societal norms of respect and responsibility (Wright, 2000).

This role separates and makes the field of psychology unique as a ‘community of common purpose’ and forms a unitary agreement among the members of the profession and thereby by extension boosting the confidence of other members of society in it. Further, integrity of the profession is anchored on the fact that the ethics code is streamlined for the members to focus on the activities and the duties they have for the entire society (APA Council of Representatives, 2003).

Two is that the ethics code and norms functions in creating public trust. This is achieved by showcasing the profession as and its members as responsible and in a functional high standard profession in relation to societal universal beliefs and expectations. It is thus seen as a social agreement or a covenant that the profession has with the larger members of the society (APA Council of Representatives, 2003).

The role in which societal norms come in handy is on education and professional enculturation (Wright, 2000). This socialization role is based on societal values and the professional standards defining what psychologist should expect of themselves and others in the profession as well. A code in this sense is thus perceived as a document that facilitates supports and provides a roadmap on how psychologists should mitigate and makes decisions as they practice (APA Council of Representatives, 2003).

The third is its role in the enforcement of values. The norms are important for being offering a basis of a checklist and a monitoring tool. The ethics code defines the types of behaviors considered as violations or the ones that go against grain provide a roadmap and guide for psychologist to avoid such behaviors, and help the clients in making complaints about such violations (Wright, 2000).

Conclusion

In conclusion ethical codes in psychology are generally as most profession is, tied to societal norms of behavior and expectations. The formation of these codes and their roles generally stem from morality and societal view points of it

References

APA Council of Representatives. (2003). A Code of Ethics for Psychology: How did we get here? American Psychological Association. Web.

Wright, L. (2000). Ethical Standards and Code of Conduct. Web.

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