Essay On Unethical Decision Making

Unethical decision making can happen to a variety of employees in the workplace. Employees do this for a number of different reasons, such as incompetence, ignorance, misinformation, etc. There are also a number of different conditions in which a professional is more vulnerable to making an unethical decision. Some examples of these conditions include, loyalty conflicts, conflicting ethical principles, inadequate sources of guidance, etc. This paper will focus mostly on misinformation and conflicting ethical principles. Misinformation is false information that is intended to deceive others. In the mental field, for example, a client may tell their therapist that they are experiencing some trouble sleeping, even though they are not, the therapist may refer them to the psychiatrist, who will then prescribe them medication. The client receives the medication and misuses it, resulting in the deceit. Ethical principles conflict when there is no clear and right response. An example of this would be a supervisor telling an intern in a therapist’s office that they are doing a great job, even though they are struggling. This would be the kind thing to say, even though it is not the truth.  

Misinformation about medication has been a common practice. An early examination of this was the use of aspirin to reduce heart disease. As aspirin is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication, it allows people to buy it freely and not get all the information on it. OTC medications had few statements about the risks and many more statements about the benefits of it (Krishna & Thompson, 2021). To prevent this misinformation from coming about, scholars have looked into networks that have spread this and have controlled what is said about these medications by using health professionals and government sources, like the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Scholars have been trying to counteract the misinformation by creating health messages about contraceptives and providing statistical evidence of effectiveness to clear up the misconceptions. The scholars have also informed clinicians’ to clarify the benefits, as well as, the risks of the medications they prescribe (Krishna & Thompson, 2021). Clinicians’ may sometimes omit the consequences of certain medications so that they can possibly make more money, resulting in the misinformation for their benefit.

Many psychologists question whether the profession provides them with ethical guidance. According to Allan (2015) the reason for this is that their colleagues professional ethics differ from each other. Psychologists experience moral uncertainty and when this occurs, the social contract between psychology and society is expressed. Society is to be protected and following societies standards is necessary or they would be disciplined. Some observers in society have noticed that wrong decisions are due to intellectual error and one not knowing that they are trying to do good by themselves and others (Rossy, 2011). An example of conflicting ethical principles in a therapist setting could be a mental health specialist trying to help a client in their problems by telling them a hurtful truth. The specialist knows that it is what the client needs to hear, but the client may have conflicting views toward the specialist, even though it will help them in the long run. Rossy (2011) noted that one can prevent conflicting ethical principles by using moral intuition. This intuition tells one whether something is right or wrong. Therefore, to prevent conflicting ethical principles one has to understand that our judgement is a good indicator of what the right choice would be. 

Anyone involved in working with clients that have mental problems can experience making an unethical decision. There are numerous reasons and conditions one in the psychiatry field may make an unethical decision. Misinformation and conflicting ethical principles are two of these. Misinformation can occur when someone is trying to deceive others to benefit themselves. Ethical principles conflict when one is unsure of their response to a situation. To prevent both of these leading to an unethical situation, clinicians’ should be sure of the medications they are prescribing, making sure the information their clients are telling them are true, and understanding that their judgement is typically a good indicator of what choice should be made. Unethical decisions are not always avoidable, but finding ways to determine the best way to make the right choice can be thorough one’s own moral judgment. 

Allan, A. (2015). Ethics in Psychology and Law: An International Perspective. Ethics & 
Behavior, 25(6), 443–457. 
Krishna, A., & Thompson, T.L. (2021). Misinformation about health: A review of health 
communication and misinformation scholarship. American Behavioral Scientist, 65(2), 316-332.
Rossy, G.L. (2011). Five questions for addressing ethical dilemmas. Strategy & Leadership, 
39(6), 35–42.


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