Introducing SIOP’s Committee for the Advancement of Professional Ethics (CAPE)
Deirdre Knapp and Joel Lefkowitz
In April 2017, SIOP’s executive board approved formation of a Committee for the Advancement of Professional Ethics (CAPE). In addition to Deirdre Knapp as Chair, the initial committee members—representing practice, research and/or academic areas--are Joe Allen, George Banks, James Grand, Paul Green, Amy Grubb, and Joel Lefkowitz. Rodney Lowman is involved in an advisory capacity, but his primary role will be serving on the recently announced APA Ethics Code Revision Task Force (ECTF).
For a long time, it probably would have been fair to say that the view of research ethics held by many SIOP members was “an unreasonable set of rules or expectations designed by intrusive idealists to make our lives more difficult” (Lefkowitz, 2017, p. 1.) and that ethics education, when it was taught at all, was taught in ways that communicated, “This is something we unfortunately must require you to do, so let’s get it over with as quickly as we can, and then we can move on to the important things” (Macrina, 2014, p. xviii). But the zeitgeist has changed. We believe that the board’s action recognizes the increasing relevance and greater salience of ethical issues in the field and among SIOP members in their work as consultants, researchers, and educators (cf. Payne, Morgan and Allen, 2015; Steiner & Yancey, 2013).
CAPE’s agenda is to:
- Develop and/or share resources targeted to I-O graduate education in ethical research and practice
- Develop and/or share resources targeted to I-O continuing professional education in ethical matters, including promoting inclusion of ethics-related programming at the annual conference, inclusion of ethical decision-making thought pieces (e.g., case studies) in SIOP communications (e.g., Newsbriefs, website, TIP), and self-study resources
- Consult with the Executive Board on relevant SIOP policies (e.g., conflict of interest)
- Serve as a source of input and response team to proposed changes to ethics-related standards (e.g., the APA ethics code)
To be clear, the need for this new committee is not borne out of a concern that there are too many I-O psychologists behaving badly. Rather, it reflects the reality that we all routinely make professional decisions that, explicitly or not, reflect ethical choices. Helping I-O psychologists more explicitly recognize and navigate situations requiring such choices can only make us stronger as a profession. Raising the profile of discourse related to ethics and promoting mindful consideration of ethical matters in professional decision-making as I-O psychologists is the goal of this new committee. We also hope to encourage the development of and raise the profile of a new generation of I-O practitioners and scholars who are thought leaders in this area.
At the time of this writing, the committee has met (by teleconference) only once, and we are in the process of developing an agenda to implement our objectives. To that end, we would very much like to hear from you—with your suggestions for implementation, and/or to volunteer your involvement in the committee’s activities. You may do this by reaching out to any member of CAPE.
We will be publicizing the existence of the committee and soliciting member involvement in multiple forums and during the SIOP conference (through ad hoc means; the official program has been finalized). So look for announcements from CAPE. See you in Chicago!
Lefkowitz, J. (2017). Ethics and values in industrial-organizational psychology, 2nd Ed. New York, NY: Routledge; Taylor & Francis Group.
Macrina, F.L. (2014). Scientific integrity: Text and cases in responsible conduct of research, 4th Ed. Washington, DC: ASM Press.
Payne, S.C., Morgan, W.B. & Allen, J. (2015). Revising SIOP’s guidelines for education and training: Graduate program director survey results. The Industrial-Organizational psychologist, 53(2), 158-161.
Steiner, A. & Yancey, G.B. (2013). The knowledge and skills employers desire when hiring an I-O psychologist. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 51(1), 53-60.