Ethical Dilemmas, Cultural Differences, and the Globalization of Psychology

Jean L. Pettifor and Andrea Ferrero

in The Oxford Handbook of International Psychological Ethics

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199739165
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Ethical Dilemmas, Cultural Differences, and the Globalization of Psychology

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  • History and Systems in Psychology


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As the world becomes globalized, psychologists more frequently encounter ethical dilemmas based on differences in worldviews. Enlightened globalization may lead to greater harmony, while unilateral globalization by dominant cultures will not. This chapter presents practical examples for psychologists of culture-based ethical dilemmas around such themes as respect, competency, professional boundaries, the status of women, the law, and social justice. Today, psychologists and counselors may come from different cultures, train in different countries, and practice with a diversity of clients and in a diversity of locations. When cultural beliefs appear to clash with ethical rules of conduct, ethical decision making must focus on the well-being of clients individually and collectively. Respect and caring for clients takes priority over Western concepts of rule-compliance. The vignettes of ethical dilemmas illustrate some of the complexities of working across cultures. Psychologists are urged to support an enlightened globalization.

Keywords: ethics; ethical dilemmas; globalization; rule compliance; worldviews

Article.  10661 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology

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