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Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment

Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentAdvice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentWeek 4 – AssignmentEthical DilemmasIn a 1,050- to 1,400-word (or 3- to 4-page) paper, explain what you would do if you found an unethical practice in your workplace. Would it depend on the severity of the unethical practice?Provide a couple examples of potential unethical practices in your organization that could be considered very minor that people have come to “accept” as opposed to reporting.Justify why you think that people tend to accept some unethical practices while others are not accepted. Create a continuum of severity model regarding ethical practices in organizations and discuss your model. How did you arrive at the model you created?ReferencesBurkholder, J., Burkholder, D., & Gavin, M. (2020). The Role of Decision‐Making Models and Reflection in Navigating Ethical Dilemmas. Counseling & Values, 65(1), 108–121. https://doi.org/10.1002/cvj.12125Franklin, D., & Guerber, A. J. (2020). Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas. Journal of Managerial Issues, 32(3), 334–353.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment108 Counseling and Values ■ April 2020 ■ Volume 65Received 06/30/17 Revised 12/21/17Accepted 03/11/18 DOI: 10.1002/cvj.12125The Role of Decision-Making Models and Reflection in Navigating Ethical DilemmasJessica Burkholder, David Burkholder, and Martin GavinThe ACA Code of Ethics (American Counseling Association [ACA], 2014) mandates counselor competency in using ethical decision-making mod- els (EDMs) and mandates that counselors use an EDM when confronted with making ethical decisions. Additionally, researchers have highlighted the importance of counselors continually evaluating and reflecting when faced with ethical dilemmas and working through a decision-making model. Using a phenomenological research design, the authors examined how counselors address ethical dilemmas, including how reflection and EDMs are incorporated into the decision-making process. Emergent themes from data analysis include (a) incomplete following of EDMs, (b) varied dilem- mas, (c) power, and (d) ethics training.ORDER A PLAGIARISM-FREE PAPER HEREKeywords: ethical decision-making models, counseling, CACREP, counselor education, valuesT he ACA Code of Ethics (American Counseling Association [ACA], 2014, Purpose section, p. 3) directs counselors to use a reliable model for mak- ing ethical decisions. Many models are available to counselors (Cottone& Claus, 2000; Levitt, Farry, & Mazzarella, 2015; Remley & Herlihy, 2010; Sheperis, Henning, & Kocet, 2016), and counselors are expected to be fa- miliar with the process and leverage a model effectively on a case-by-case basis that best serves the client (Kaplan & Martz, 2014). Daily, counselors face complex situations that require a sound decision-making process for navigating those dilemmas (Forester-Miller & Davis, 2016). Kitchener (1984) described an ethical dilemma as “a situation in which there are good rea- sons to take different courses of action” (p. 53). Although some clinicians may expect that their ethical conflicts can be resolved by simply finding the appropriate section of the code of ethics, codes of ethics can be ambiguous and contradictory. Ethics codes are concurrently “too broad in some cases and too narrow in others” (Kitchener, 1984, p. 46).Addressing the ambiguous and sometimes contradictory nature of codes of ethics, Kitchener (1984) emphasized the importance of considering aJessica Burkholder, David Burkholder, and Martin Gavin, Department of Professional Counseling, Monmouth University. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jessica Burkholder, Department of Professional Counseling, Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, NJ 07764 (email: jburkhol@monmouth.edu). Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentCounseling and Values ■ April 2020 ■ Volume 65 109more stable foundation to use than ethics codes when making decisions. She identified the most important principles—autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, justice, and fidelity. These principles are the “foundation for ethical behavior and decision making” (ACA Code of Ethics, Preamble section, p. 3; ACA, 2014) and are infused in the ethical decision-making models (EDMs) most widely used in the counseling profession (Sheperis et al., 2016).In line with Kitchener ’s (1984) recommendation, the task force for the most recent revision to the ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2014) acknowledged that a variety of EDMs exist but stopped short of endorsing a specific model (Kaplan & Martz, 2014). The task force declined to specify a par- ticular EDM because of the potential legal issues if an alternate model was available and valid but not used (Martz & Kaplan, 2014). Several scholars have identified commonalities in the most frequently cited EDMs. For example, Remley and Herlihy (2010) identified eight common elements across EDMs:1. Identify and define the problem. 2. Consider the principles and virtues. 3. Tune in to your feelings. 4. Consult with colleagues or experts. 5. Involve your client in the decision making process. 6. Identify desired outcomes. 7. Consider possible actions. 8. Choose and act on your choice. (pp. 14–15)Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentSimilarly, Forester-Miller and Davis (2016) found these common directives:1. Identify the problem. 2. Apply the ACA Code of Ethics. 3. Determine the nature and dimensions of the dilemma. 4. Generate possible courses of action. 5. Consider the potential consequences of all options and determine acourse of action. 6. Evaluate the selected course of action. 7. Implement course of action. (p. 5)Despite these similarities, Cottone and Claus (2000) found that EDMs exhibited a wide variety of foci and few were grounded in theory. Cottone (2001) noted that most models articulate steps for making an ethical choice but fail to describe how to make that choice. Cottone emphasized that ethical decisions made in a social context are not simply an intrapsychic process. The “how” of decision-making has been connected to the decision maker ’s moral development (Neukrug, Lovell, & Parker, 1996).  110 Counseling and Values ■ April 2020 ■ Volume 65Moral DevelopmentEDMs were developed to assist helping professionals facing ethical decisions. As counselors grow in their knowledge of ethics and moral development, they continue to need a sound ethical decision-making process. Neukrug et al. (1996) found that how a person uses the ethics code and EDMs, also known as the person’s decision-making style, was connected to his or her moral development and that counseling students needed to move beyond rote memorization and learn to reason ethically. When facing an ethical dilemma, the mature counselor continues to evaluate and reflect on their chosen course of action, whereas an immature helper is likely to be impetu- ous or overly confident.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentSheperis et al. (2016) noted the tendency for counselors to take decision- making shortcuts and act on the basis of what seems to be common sense or what feels right. As a result, counselors frequently end up making decisions that are based on their own personal values, not the values of the profession or the laws that govern clinical practice (Sheperis et al., 2016). Sheperis et al. emphasized that counselors must follow an EDM to ensure that their values are consistent with those of the counseling profession. Neukrug et al. (1996) asserted that education must attend to the character of the decision makers and “attempt to stimulate cognitive development in the moral domain” (p. 104), so that helpers become skilled at integrating ethical guidelines with their personal and professional values. For the developmentally mature counselor, the ethics codes and decision-making models are tools used in their deeply reflective decision-making process.Kitchener (1984) offered a similar caution and directed counselors to pursue a greater understanding of their ethical decision-making process by considering two levels of moral reasoning: intuitive and critical-evaluative. The intuitive level of moral reasoning is associated with a person’s immedi- ate, prereflective response to dilemmas based on her or his own historical knowledge and experience. Because this level cannot always be expected to result in good ethical decisions being reached, the ethically mature counselor displays critical-evaluative-level reasoning by taking into consideration ad- ditional aspects, including ethical rules, which are often contradictory and ambiguous, and ethical principles, such as autonomy, justice, and beneficence.Counselor Training and Decision-Making PracticesThose in the helping professions are first exposed to ethics training in their programs of study, ideally including both EDMs and cognitive development in the moral domain. There is an almost universally recognized need to in- clude ethics training (Neukrug & Milliken, 2011), but there is some debate about how to do so. Much of this debate has focused on whether to infuse ethics training across the entire curriculum or to concentrate it in one course. Pack-Brown, Thomas, and Seymour (2008) argued for an infusion of ethicsAdvice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment Counseling and Values ■ April 2020 ■ Volume 65 111training, as did Corey, Corey, and Callahan (2005). Sanders and Hoffman (2010) researched ethics training, contrasting two distinct methods: (a) infusion across the curriculum and (b) two types of distinct ethics courses (common morality model and mixed model). Sanders and Hoffman discovered that using a common morality model led to students possessing better moral judgment and sensitivity. McGee (2005) and McCarron and Stewart (2011) have argued for specific coursework in ethics training, with both promoting the use of vignettes so students can consider ethics issues in the context of real-life applications.Other researchers have examined ethics training in counseling programs. Jordan and Stevens (2001) found that students in programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) may perceive their ethics courses as uninteresting and risk low information retention. The authors asserted that using multiple delivery mediums and a variety of classroom engagement activities may increase the likelihood of student engagement and information retention. Ethical decision-making is complex and represents a long-term learning process, which needs to be integrated throughout the counseling curriculum.Ametrano (2014) taught an ethics class alongside clinical experiences under supervision. The goal was to help students progress from their initial ethics code awareness toward a more in-depth appreciation for the intricacies of the process of ethical decision-making. Early in their training, students relied on one decision-making component, such as the ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2005) or their own personal values. Providing multiple opportunities for working through ethical dilemmas with peer interaction increased students’ awareness of how their values affected their decision-making process.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentOnly one study was found that sought to understand the way in which counselors engage in moral reasoning. Levitt et al. (2015) provided participants with a brief case and asked them to “think-aloud” about their decision-making process. The results revealed four themes that guided decision-making, including “personal values, clients’ best interest, transparency in decision- making and perceptions of formal training and practice” (p. 88). Levitt et al. reported that the decision-making process participants used was far more complex than linear EDM models. They noted the need to further explore the application of decision-making models post formal education.Although much literature exists describing the theory of ethical decision- making, the importance of ethics training, and the examination of the best way to deliver such training, a gap exists in the research literature examining how ethical decision-making is made. Similar to Levitt et al. (2015), in the current study we aimed to describe the practices that counselors used when facing ethi- cal dilemmas. In contrast to the dilemmas used by Levitt et al., in this study the participants described their real-life experiences and were prompted to discuss EDMs and how their training prepared them to navigate ethical dilemmas. Guided by the work of Kitchener (1984) and Neukrug et al. (1996), we focused on how reflection was used in conjunction with EDMs by the participants.  112 Counseling and Values ■ April 2020 ■ Volume 65MethodOur primary research question was as follows:Research Question 1: How do counselors address ethical dilemmas?The second research question, focused on the decision-making tools that counselors use to aid them in that process, was as follows:Research Question 2: How do counselors incorporate reflection and EDMs into their decision-making process?A phenomenological research design was used to better understand the decision-making process of practicing counselors. Phenomenology attempts to describe both the meaning and the essential structures of the lived experi- ences of the participants by describing what they have in common (Creswell, 2007; Moustakas, 1994). In this study, we were concerned with both the specifics of the ethical dilemmas faced by the participants and the meaning they attached to their decision-making process.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentParticipantsUpon receiving institutional review board approval, we solicited participants through an email sent to the graduate students in the counselor education electronic mailing list COUNSGRADS and the ACA Connect discussion board. Purposeful sampling was used to increase learning about the is- sues central to the purpose of this study (Merriam, 2009). Only licensed counselors who had graduated from CACREP-accredited programs were considered to increase homogeneity in graduate training experiences. Those interested in the study were provided with an informed consent and demographic questionnaire. Nine participants met the previously stated criteria and participated.Seven participants were women, and two were men. The participants ranged in age from 28 to 55 years old (M = 39, SD = 8.4). Years of experi- ence practicing ranged from 4 to 26 years (M = 8.7, SD = 7.5). Six of the participants worked in mental health agencies, two had private practices, and one worked at a hospital.Data CollectionThe primary researcher collected data through recorded telephone individual interviews that ranged from 50 to 90 minutes in length. Prior to the interview, the participants were asked to identify two ethical dilemmas they have faced in their clinical practice. An ethical dilemma was described as when two or more ethical values are in conflict, so that both values cannot be equally and necessarily upheld. Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentCounseling and Values ■ April 2020 ■ Volume 65 113A semistructured interview protocol was used to provide opportunities for elaboration, correction, and clarification (Creswell, 2007; Maxwell, 2005). The research questions informed the development of the interview protocol. The questions used in the interview were as follows: (a) Describe an ethical dilemma you have encountered in your work as a professional counselor. (b) What were the key ethical concerns? (c) What steps did you take to resolve this dilemma? (d) What was the outcome? And (e) What would you have done differently? These questions were repeated for each dilemma. Next, counselors were asked (a) What was your training for resolving ethical di- lemmas? (b) How helpful was it to you in these situations? and (c) Do you use a specific ethical decision-making model?Data AnalysisWe used an abridged version of Moustakas’s (1994) data analysis method. Upon completion of the interviews, the recorded interviews were tran- scribed. We repeatedly reviewed the transcripts separately and took reflective notes. Moustakas referred to this process as horizonalizing, in which researchers regard “every horizon or statement relevant to the topic and question as having equal value” (p. 118). We continued separately to identify meaning units relevant to the phenomena being studied and clustered them into tentative themes. We came together to discuss these tentative themes and reached an agreement on the organization of the data. The data were used to develop textual-structural descriptions that included what was common in the experience of the participants. These descriptions were supported by verbatim quotes that reflected the tone of the participants’ experiences.Researchers and Trustworthiness ProceduresThe first author is a female counselor educator who has been a professor in two clinical mental health counseling programs for a total of 7 years. The second author is a male counselor educator who has been a professor in a clinical mental health counseling program for 8 years. The third author is a male graduate student in a clinical mental health counseling program. The first and second authors have published research on ethics in counseling (Burkholder, Hall, & Burkholder, 2014) and have worked with students facing ethical dilemmas. Both are interested in the present research because their previous research and experiences with students have shown that students rarely use an EDM. The third author is motivated to explore this topic because of his interest in ethics and counseling.We recognized that our prior research and experiences with students had the potential to affect our data analysis, so we took multiple measures to ensure the trustworthiness and dependability of this study. These measures served as a protection against events or processes that could result in in- valid conclusions (Maxwell, 2005). We used bracketing, identifying our own Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment114 Counseling and Values ■ April 2020 ■ Volume 65personal backgrounds and beliefs in relation to ethical decision-making and setting them aside so that the research process was rooted on the topic in question (Moustakas, 1994). The format of the semistructured interviews also allowed for member checks. Participants were encouraged to elaborate, clarify, and correct the interviewer ’s interpretations. Member checks are considered one of the most important elements of establishing credibility in qualitative research (Maxwell, 2005). We used triangulation by analyzing the data independently and then comparing our findings (Merriam, 2009). Finally, we developed thick descriptions to allow the readers to make their own judgments regarding the transferability of the study findings to their own unique situations (Creswell, 2007).ResultsAnalysis of the participant interviews yielded four themes: (a) incomplete following of EDMs, (b) varied dilemmas, (c) power, and (d) ethics training. Textual-structural descriptions that rely heavily on the participants’ own words are provided for each theme to retain the “situated character” of the results (Polkinghorne, 1989, p. 54).Incomplete Following of EDMsOnly two participants could name a specific EDM that they used, and most participants did not follow an EDM in a systematic way. All participants could describe isolated steps they took to resolve their dilemmas, but what emerged was a pattern of favoring specific parts of EDMs. This was exem- plified by a participant who stated, “Nothing specific. It’s more about being self-aware and consulting when I need to consult.”The most frequently described action participants used to resolve a dilemma was consulting with peers, supervisors, and treatment teams. Other individual examples of consulting included contacting agency ethics committees, boards of behavioral health, and the ACA ethics hotline. One participant stated, “I was pretty much, if something’s unethical, report it to your supervisor. That is about it.” Another stated, “I went to my supervisor because I had no idea what to do in this kind of situation.” Although consulting with supervisors and peers was often helpful, the participants did not describe being directed toward using an EDM. One participant stated that “it hasn’t been my experi- ence that supervisors use a model.” But others described a good supervisor as a “blessing” and “critical.” A good relationship with a supervisor allowed participants to “feel comfortable saying, ‘I’m faced with this dilemma right now and don’t know what to do about it.’” Consulting with others was described as “invaluable” to helping participants feel less “alone.”This reliance on consultation and supervisors created problems when the supervisor was the one behaving in an unethical manner. In these cases, the participants often described themselves as being in a tenuous position and insecure about the next step to take. One participant stated, “I have to followAdvice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment Counseling and Values ■ April 2020 ■ Volume 65 115orders of my supervisor because what if I am wrong?” Another participant described being labeled “resistant” and “insubordinate” for disagreeing with a supervisor on ethical grounds.The participant with the second highest length of clinical experience was the only one to specifically mention reading the ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2014) or state regulations when facing an ethical dilemma. This participant also reported a high level of confidence in her ethical decisions. Many par- ticipants echoed elements of “the code,” but were often referring to larger ethical concepts such as confidentiality, dual relationships, or nonmaleficence. Participants described relying on their acquired knowledge of the topics, as opposed to reading the specific sections in the ethics code or regulations amid their ethical dilemma.Five participants described a process of “weighing pros and cons.” For some, this was done by “writing a lot” and “documentation,” but for others the pros and cons were discussed in consultation with others. In most cases, the primary focus of this “weighing” was reducing harm to the client or the therapeutic relationship.Finally, six participants relied on their firm belief that they themselves were ethical and thus could trust their own knowledge and intuition. One participant stated, “You can learn the ethics code, but . . . you’re either an ethical person or you’re not.” Other comments included, “I tried internal” and “I think with my ethical decision-making it is about being self-aware.” One participant acknowledged that a pattern of relying on intuition creates additional dilemmas, stating, “It’s tough because it kind of depends on what you see as unethical.” Like supervision, “instinct” or “gut” feelings were prioritized and valued over other elements of EDMs.Varied DilemmasThe participants reported a wide variety of ethical dilemmas, which varied in scope and complexity. Participants frequently noted the contrast between the complexities of the ethical dilemmas they encountered compared with the brief ethical training they received at the graduate level.The most frequently noted ethical dilemma was being directed to do something by a supervisor or administrator that the participant deemed unethical. Participants described being told to “falsify records”; participate in insurance fraud; operate in unsafe work environments; practice outside of their competence level; maintain high caseloads, leading to inadequate service; and disregard their duty to report. One participant expressed sur- prise, stating “I never dreamed in a million years entering the profession that people would not support good ethics. I thought you would run into one or two people . . . but it just seems so widespread.” In many cases, participants reported the motivating factor to be money. They described supervisors saying things such as “Don’t you see how many specific ways you can bill this specific code?” or instructing them to get “butts in the chairs.” Many Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment116 Counseling and Values ■ April 2020 ■ Volume 65shared a general feeling that administration and supervisors were not concerned with them being a good counselor as much as “asking people to make them money.” When participants felt “mandated by a higher author- ity” to provide inadequate or unethical care, they expressed feeling that ultimately clients were being harmed. As one participant shared, services offered to clients were “not accurately representing the field of counseling . . . clients are looking for care and we’re actually doing harm.” In addition, three participants shared concerns of peers engaging in illegal or unethical practices. They wrestled with whether to report them to state counseling boards. These ethical concerns involving supervisors and peers, coupled with a reliance on consultation to resolve ethical dilemmas, contributed to participants feeling insecure in their work environments.The next most frequently cited ethical dilemma was dual relationships. Participants expressed concerns that dual relationships could compro- mise confidentiality or cause harm to clients. Participants also described regional and location-specific conditions that resulted in an increased likelihood of encountering clients in public. Dual relationships were the ethical dilemma in which participants were most likely to use a “weigh- ing of pros and cons.”Other ethical dilemmas that were shared related to the duty to report and treatment interventions that reduced client autonomy. Paired with the pattern of participants relying on their gut or intuition, it should be noted that only one participant expressed a concern about imposing their values on a client.PowerParticipants frequently reported feeling that they did not have power in their places of employment to disagree with supervisors or administrators regarding ethics. One participant stated, “You don’t feel like you can do what is necessary,” and another shared, “This was the tipping point. I realized I had no rights at the company at all to try to work ethically.” Participants often described the environments themselves as unethical, commenting that “there was so much bad stuff going on.” This was also illustrated when a participant expressed, “We were given a clear message that it was unethical, but it was just that as a subordinate employee you have very little power.”Their feelings of powerlessness intensified when they feared losing their jobs. One participant stated, “My dilemma was ‘Oh my God, I got to keep my job.’” Others felt that they had to ignore ethical issues because “if I want to keep my employment, I have to.” Interestingly, all participants who expressed feeling that they had little power in their workplace eventually left their place of employment. One stated, “I just looked for another job, because I realized it was just going to be untenable.” Another shared a similar sentiment, “I realized in order for me to do the right thing, that may include leaving.” Another participant shared the experience of “watch[ing] everyone leave and find their own path.”Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment Counseling and Values ■ April 2020 ■ Volume 65 117Many participants who secured new jobs with improved work environ- ments reflected that they could have “pushed back even harder” or ques- tioned, “Why didn’t I say that?” but at the time felt they had little power or few options. Having chosen to leave unethical work environments, they reported increased confidence that they themselves were ethical. One par- ticipant stated, “In my practice, I have control, and can be ethical and make ethical decisions.”Although many participants did use steps found in EDMs, only two par- ticipants explicitly followed an EDM. As a result, these two reported higher levels of confidence and empowerment when navigating ethical dilemmas. One seasoned clinician stated, “I think that the choices that I made at the time were probably the best choices.” She stated, “I’m at a different place where I don’t feel intimidated by anyone.” She compared this with earlier in her career when she did not use an EDM and frequently felt “like I was navigating the waters all by myself.” The other participant who used an EDM stated, “What’s sort of stunning to me is that more people don’t use a decision-making model or they don’t seem to go with anything other than their gut, which is not a good idea.”Ethics TrainingMost participants expressed thinking that their ethics training was incom- plete. Most reported being introduced to the ethics code in one of their first classes, but the focus was primarily identifying ethical issues. Two partici- pants expressed that they did not have any ethics training and “there were no models.” Two more participants used the exact phrasing of “Do this, don’t do this” to describe their ethics training. Case studies were used to “identify certain ethical issues, but not work through them.” A participant expressed, “I guess it was helpful, but it wasn’t sufficient.”Following that early coursework, many participants reported a long gap in their ethics training until they arrived at their clinical coursework. One participant shared, “I don’t feel like it is infused.” One participant wished there had been an “ongoing discussion” to keep ethics “fresh in your mind and prepare you for internship.” Another participant’s experience was sum- marized as follows: “I understand having the ethics course as one of the first courses, but what I can say for myself was by the time I was in my practi- cum and internship, I had forgotten the class.” A participant who currently teaches internship described requesting students “whip out that ethics code,” but the students acted as if “they had forgotten that document even exists.”In addition, participants shared that they got little training in problem- solving and decision-making. One participant stated, “If you only take one ethics class, it’s hard to really figure out a model,” and another shared, “You really need to practice and apply it.” Another emphasized the importance of repetition, emphasizing the importance of having “case vignettes to really problem solve.”Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment 118 Counseling and Values ■ April 2020 ■ Volume 65For those whose education did include case studies, they found their introduction to ethical dilemmas shared little in common with the ethical dilemmas they faced in practice. One participant stated, “The ethical cases that I encountered in graduate school were much different than what I encountered working there.” Similarly, a participant shared, “I would pres- ent more realistic case studies because I think that it’s not uncommon to encounter those types of situations in certain work places. . . . As much as we don’t want to admit this, you have people who want to make money at the cost of ethics.”Multiple participants shared a perspective that one participant described by saying “my training began once I was approached with this dilemma and had to go through it.” This participant expressed that until he was in his field placement class and faced with clinical situations requiring problem-solving, he did not learn how to make a clinically ethical decision. He stated, “It was very black and white to me. The windows started opening to some flexibility in internship.”One participant had returned to doctoral studies and reported getting additional ethics training. As a result, the participant consistently uses an EDM. The participant shared how previously she had believed she would “know if something was unethical,” but upon reflection she concluded that “there were some things I probably didn’t even realize were unethical.” She stated that had she been using an EDM, her process would have been “more objective as opposed to subjectively just guessing my way through it.”Connections Between ThemesThe foregoing themes are clearly interrelated. Participants described feeling that their ethics training was insufficient. They reported little practice work- ing through complex ethical dilemmas. Thus, when they entered clinical experiences, they frequently relied on their intuition and supervisors. This pattern of relying on consultation and gut feelings, but not ethics and legal documents, likely increased feelings of powerlessness and insecurity. How- ever, as participants gained experience working through ethical dilemmas, many grew in their skills and confidence.DiscussionThe themes found in this study are consistent with priorities articulated by previous researchers in the ethics literature. Kitchener (1984) noted the need for clinicians to have a strong ethics foundation and understanding of their own ethical decision-making process. Cottone (2001) emphasized the impor- tance of training clinicians in how to make an ethical decision. Sheperis et al. (2016) expressed concerns that clinicians who made decisions based on their intuition were doing so based on their own personal values, not the values of the counseling profession. Ametrano (2014) found that students early in their ethics training tended to rely on one decision-making component. Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentCounseling and Values ■ April 2020 ■ Volume 65 119Neukrug et al. (1996) emphasized the skill of integrating ethical guidelines with personal and professional values. They noted that using the ethics code and decision-making models was a sign of counselor maturity. Jordan and Stevens (2001) noted low information retention from ethics courses and the importance of ethics being integrated throughout the counseling curriculum. This study adds the element of powerlessness or insecurity that counselors may feel when they do not have an established and balanced decision-making process. The findings of this study confirm the importance of ethics curricula that are applied, integrated, and connected to clinical practice.Unique to this research was the illumination of how practicing counselors approach making ethical decisions and the impact of using an EDM. Our research has shown that counselors feel more confident when using ethics and EDMs and feel an increased amount of worry and insecurity when they do not. Underscoring these unique findings is the indication that few counselors use EDMs, even though using an EDM has been required by the ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2014) since 2014.Implications for Counselor EducationPrograms may consider an additional ethics course that students take concurrent with clinical coursework. This approach may be similar to the model proposed by Ametrano (2014) that taught decision-making models and emphasized small-group discussions. Such an approach would allow for real ethical dilemmas that arise in clinical coursework to be worked through systematically and with guidance. If programs choose not to add a course, they may consider adopting a model to intentionally teach students. Faculty could use this model in each course to work through class-specific dilemmas. This would allow for students to be taught a model and practice using it throughout the counseling curriculum.Faculty members may consider requiring students to bring their ethics code and state regulations to practicum or internship class. It can be assumed that students will face ethical dilemmas in their clinical coursework. Requiring students to follow an EDM is a powerful way to model how they should ap- proach ethical dilemmas in their clinical practice. Programs may also consider offering training to their supervisors regarding ethical decision-making. By training and encouraging supervisors to use EDMs as a tool in their supervi- sion, they can increase continuity between coursework and clinical training experiences. CACREP (2015) encourages programs to provide supervision training to site supervisors, and training in ethical decision-making could benefit supervisors, agencies, students, and the community.Finally, programs may also provide career guidance for students and recent graduates as they choose their first work environment. Many participants lamented the unethical environments in which they found themselves. Help- ing students to identify signs of an ethical work environment could aid them as they transition from student to practitioner.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment 120 Counseling and Values ■ April 2020 ■ Volume 65LimitationsA discussion of the limitations of this study will assist the reader in deciding whether to accept the credibility of these findings. The goal of this study was to understand the decision-making process of practicing counselors, but of the nine counselors who participated in the study, only two were men. This may be representative of the counseling profession, but it does not provide adequate data to understand the decision-making process of male counselors or to discuss variations across gender. Similarly, greater diversity across years of clinical practice and place of employment might yield meaningful findings regarding environmental conditions that influence decision-making. The goal of qualitative research is not generalizability but transferability, so additional research in this area will continue to grow confidence in this knowledge base.Areas for Future ResearchThis study highlights many areas for future study. Qualitative research typically uses small samples, but it may be helpful to replicate this study with a larger sample size. The themes found in this study could be used to develop a quantitative instrument that could be more widely disseminated. Another area for study could be examining the kinds of ethical dilemmas that counselors are facing and whether there is a relationship to the type of clinical environment. Many participants suggested that money or lack of resources contributed to the ethically questionable situations in which they found themselves; future research could explore whether these types of di- lemmas may be more frequent in certain clinical environments. It may also be helpful for programs to apply some of the recommendations provided in this article and examine whether the training increases the likelihood of those counselors using an EDM in clinical practice. Finally, it may be valuable for researchers to evaluate whether the use of an EDM improves the quality of the ethical decision. Although the ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2014) mandates the use of EDMs, few empirical studies exist that validate or compare the utility of specific EDMs (Cottone & Claus, 2000).ConclusionEDMs are mandated by the ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2014), and researchers have pointed out the value of using EDMs, such as ensuring that clinicians are basing decisions on the values of the counseling profession and not their own personal values. Despite this, the present research illustrates that practicing counselors may be unfamiliar with EDMs and navigate ethical dilemmas either by using their intuition or by relying solely on a supervisor. In light of the mandate from the ACA Code of Ethics, previous research, and our finding that clinicians report higher levels of confidence when using an EDM, it is hoped that the present study highlights the importance of train- ing students in using EDMs and encourages more research on this topic.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment Counseling and Values ■ April 2020 ■ Volume 65 121ReferencesAmerican Counseling Association. (2005). ACA code of ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author. American Counseling Association. (2014). ACA code of ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author. Ametrano, I. M. (2014). Teaching ethical decision making: Helping students reconcile personaland professional values. Journal of Counseling & Development, 92, 154–161. doi:10.1002/j.1556- 6676.2014.00143.xBurkholder, D., Hall, S. F., & Burkholder, J. (2014). Ward v. Wilbanks: Counselor educators re- spond. Counselor Education and Supervision, 53, 267–283. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6978.2014.00062.xCorey, G., Corey, M. 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Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment Copyright of Counseling & Values is the property of Wiley-Blackwell and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.  JOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES Vol. XXXII Number 3 Fall 2020JOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020Advice-Taking in Ethical DilemmasDanny Franklin Assistant ProfessorUniversity of Wisconsin – La Crosse dfranklin@uwlax.eduAmy J. GuerberAssistant Professor of Management West Texas A&M Universityaguerber@wtamu.eduOrganizational decisions are rarely made in social isolation. When faced with a decision, people may rely on advice from others to help interpret the context, evaluate alternatives, and make a choice. Taking advice can help decision-makers improve their judgment (Dalal and Bonaccio, 2010), maintain interpersonal relationships in the organization (Phillips, 1999), comply with organizational norms like accepting help from others, and diffuse responsibility for adverse decision outcomes (Harvey and Fischer, 1997). Previous research has explored how characteristics of the decision, decision-makers, and advisors impact decision-makers’ openness to advice, but advice- taking has not been studied in the context of ethical decisions where the factors influencing openness to advice may differ from other types of decisions.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentEthical decisions involve deliberations of moral norms and standards, or potentially harmful consequences for stakeholders (Treviño, 1986). They often do not have an objectively correct solution and are inherently judgmental (as opposed to intellective) in nature. Individuals faced with ethical decisions make moral judgments about their options based on their own ethical values or the ethical norms and standards of those around them (Treviño, 1986). In ethical decision-making, taking advice could have both advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, advice might provide valuable insights about the ethical values and norms of others, and may increase the likelihood that a decision-maker’s choice will be accepted by others. On the other hand, advice might be a distraction from the decision-maker’s own moral compass and may decrease the chance that the decision-maker will feel good about the choice made. Taking advice about an ethical issue might increase the decision-maker’s accountability for the decision process but also reduce the decision-maker’s personal responsibility for the outcome of the decision.(334)FRANKLIN AND GUERBERJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020For the current study, a theoretical model is developed to predict openness to advice in an ethical decision context using individual and situational factors which are specifically relevant in ethical decision-making. The applicability of this model is compared to a more generic model of advice-taking which incorporates predictors previously found to influence openness to advice in non-ethical decision tasks. These models are referred to as the ethical decision advice-taking (EDAT) model and the generic advice-taking (GAT) model, respectively, throughout this paper. The results show that the ethical decision advice-taking model explains significant variance in individuals’ openness to advice about an ethical decision while the generic model does not. Furthermore, the results of this study show that individuals faced with ethical decisions are most open to taking advice when they have little concern for the ethical implications of the decision.LITERATURE REVIEWAdvice-TakingAdvice-taking behaviors have been studied in numerous literatures including judgment and decision-making, communications, persuasion, and social/information networks (Rader et al., 2017). Within the organizational decision-making literature, dominant frameworks include Judge-Advisor Systems (JAS) and Hierarchical Decision- Making Teams (HDT). This literature often focuses on understanding the factors which influence decision-makers’ willingness to receive and utilize advice, and the accuracy or quality of their decisions. Previous research holds that advice-taking can be affected by (1) the characteristics of the decision, (2) characteristics and perceptions of advisors, and (3) the characteristics of decision-makers themselves (Gino and Schweitzer, 2008; Tost et al., 2012).Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentFirst, advice-taking is affected by certain characteristics of the decision. Research has found that people tend to be more receptive to advice when facing particularly difficult decisions or in situations that are uncertain or ambiguous in nature (Gino and Moore, 2007). Indeed, when people are unable to envision the possible outcomes of a decision, or unable to predict the probabilities of various outcomes, they may come to rely on advice to navigate the decision at hand (cf. Milliken, 1987). Recent research has found that decision-makers are more likely to take advice when decisions are of low urgency but high criticality as opposed to high urgency and low criticality (Johnson and Johnson, 2017). This suggests that decision-makers consider taking advice to be valuable when facing important decisions but also see gathering and evaluating advice as a time- consuming endeavor.In addition to the difficulty of the task itself, the extent to which the decision task has an “objectively correct answer within a shared conceptual system” (Gino and Moore, 2007: 31) or involves “political, ethical, aesthetic or behavioral judgments for which there is no objective [answer]” (Laughlin, 1980: 128) – that is, the extent to which the task in question is intellective versus judgmental in nature – may affect advice-taking as well. A majority of early advice-taking studies focused on intellective decision tasks because such tasks allow the researcher to quantitatively measure the accuracy of a decision and the extent to which a decision-maker’s final choice is influenced by advice they received (Rader et al., 2017). More recently, researchers have begun exploring advice-taking in judgmental decision tasks (Van Swol, 2011; Yaniv et al., 2011).335ADVICE-TAKING IN ETHICAL DILEMMASJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020Intellective decisions involve matters of fact, and value of advice can be objectively evaluated in terms of accuracy. Judgmental decisions involve matters of taste or opinion, making the quality or value of advice subjective. One study found that decision-makers are more likely to take advice in intellective as opposed to judgmental decisions (Van Swol, 2011).Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentSecond, advice-taking is affected by the characteristics and perceptions of advisors. Generally, decision-makers wish to take good advice while avoiding or ignoring bad advice, but because they cannot directly determine how good a particular piece of advice is, they rely on cues from the advisor to make inferences about the quality of the advice offered. Decision-makers’ perceptions of advisors’ expertise may be based on information about their credentials, background, and track-record. Many experimental studies manipulate the perceived expertise of advisors by providing decision-makers with information indicative of relevant expertise or by demonstrating the advisors track- record in related decision tasks. Perceptions of an advisor’s expertise can also be influenced by communication and interactions between the advisor and decision-maker. For example, research has found that advisors who use a higher construal level when discussing the problem at hand are perceived as having greater expertise than those who discuss the problem in low construal terms (Reyt et al., 2016). Research has also found that decision-makers are more likely to take advice from others they view as experts in the field (Borgatti and Cross, 2003). They may accept advice from people they view as more experienced and better informed, and discount advice from people they view as less knowledgeable (Soll and Larrick, 2009; Tost et al., 2012). People may also be inclined to accept advice from others they view as more confident than themselves, and from people they trust to make the right decision (Sniezek and Van Swol, 2001; Van Swol, 2011).Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentOne’s similarity with advisors on dimensions like status, values, and personality can influence advice-taking as well (Gino et al., 2009). When decision-makers lack information needed to make an optimal decision, taking advice from cognitively diverse advisors who offer different perspectives is more likely to improve decision-making than taking advice from cognitively similar advisors. Nonetheless, research generally finds that decision-makers are more likely to trust advisors who they perceive as similar to themselves, and often discount or ignore advice that is distant from their own judgments (Rader et al., 2017). Homophily is thought to have tremendous implications for organizational interactions with wide-ranging implications. In the advice-taking literature, researchers have found that decision-makers are more likely to interact with and accept advice from similar advisors (Feld, 1984; McPherson et al., 2001), but this relationship also varies across different types of decisions. Homophily plays a larger role in predicting decision-makers’ willingness to accept advice in judgmental decisions than in intellective decisions. In judgmental decisions, a decision-maker’s perception that an advisor shares similar values increases the decision-maker’s trust in the advisor, which increases the decision-maker’s willingness to accept advice. In intellective decisions, perceived similarities in values do not relate to increased trust in an advisor. Instead, perceptions of the advisor’s confidence are positively related to trust and willingness to take advice in intellective decisions (Van Swol, 2011).Third, certain characteristics of decision-makers also affect their advice-taking. Personal characteristics like ambiguity tolerance (i.e., one’s dispositional orientation towards “complex, unfamiliar and insoluble” stimuli; McLain, 2009), narcissism (i.e., a336Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentFRANKLIN AND GUERBERJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020sense of self-admiration and belief in one’s superiority to others; Kausel et al., 2015), and power (i.e., one’s “capacity to influence others, stemming from… control over resources, rewards, or punishments;” See et al., 2011) may influence decision-makers’ openness to advice. When decision-makers are extremely averse to ambiguity, for instance, they may adopt an avoidance orientation (or a flight response) when faced with ambiguous decisions, skewing their advice-taking in these situations. Narcissistic decision-makers discount the competencies of others and take less advice than non- narcissists. Additionally, non-narcissists increase advice-taking when they expect to be held accountable for their decision process, but such accountability does not alter narcissists’ advice-taking (Kausel et al., 2015). High-power decision-makers have been found to be more confident in their own judgments and less willing to take advice than those with less power (See et al., 2011), although those who view their power as a responsibility are more likely to accept advice than those who view their power as an opportunity (De Wit et al., 2017).Decision-makers’ internal states like confidence, anxiety, anger, and gratitude may also have predictable effects on advice-taking (Gino and Schweitzer, 2008). Anxiety has been found to decrease decision-makers’ self-confidence leading to increased advice- seeking and taking. Anxiety also reduces decision-makers’ ability to discern whether or not advice is good and whether or not an advisor has a conflict of interest (Gino et al., 2012). In a study of undergraduate students at Carnegie Mellon University, Gino and Schweitzer (2008) found that incidental anger (unrelated to the judgment task itself) caused people to be less receptive to advice from others, presumably because the negative emotion led to reduced trust in others while gratitude caused people to be more receptive to advice from others, eventually resulting in more accurate judgments in the experimental task (Gino and Schweitzer, 2008). More recent research suggests that it is the interaction between the valence (positive or negative) and the agency (self-focused or other-focused) of emotions that determines their impact on openness to advice (de Hooge et al., 2014). Both negative self-focused emotions (e.g., shame) and positive other-focused emotions (e.g., gratitude) led to increased openness to advice while positive self-focused emotions (e.g., pride) and negative other-focused emotions (e.g., anger) reduced openness to advice (de Hooge et al., 2014).Decision-makers’ motivations in the decision-making context can also affect their advice-taking. People are thought to be motivated to take advice for two primary reasons – to improve the quality of their decision and to share responsibility for uncertain outcomes. First, people are thought to be motivated to improve their judgment and maximize the accuracy of decisions they face (Dalal and Bonaccio, 2010; Phillips, 1999; Sniezek and Buckley, 1995). Paying heed to knowledgeable advisors enables one to improve one’s understanding of the decision and make better choices. Second, people are also thought to be motivated to take advice to reduce the potential negative consequences of committing errors in risky situations (cf. Harvey and Fischer, 1997). The diffusion of responsibility that accompanies advice-taking insulates individual decision-makers from the organizational, social, relational, and psychological consequences associated with making the “wrong” decision (Harvey and Fischer, 1997). People may be inclined to take advice from other individuals to share responsibility for decision outcomes when these outcomes are uncertain and consequential (Harvey and Fischer, 1997; Yaniv, 2004).Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment337ADVICE-TAKING IN ETHICAL DILEMMASJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020Taking advice can provide task-related and social benefits, and there are many reasons for decision-makers to take advice. Nonetheless, research has frequently found that decision-makers often avoid or underutilize advice even when the advice could have improved their decision outcomes (Rader et al., 2017). Thus, considerable research has explored reasons or motivations for taking advice as well as reasons for avoiding or ignoring advice. Gathering, evaluating, and using advice is time-consuming, and may create conflicts or social obligations for the decision-maker. Research indicates that it may be particularly difficult for decision-makers to evaluate the quality of advice in judgmental decision tasks, making the job of discerning good advice from bad more burdensome, and in turn reducing decision-makers’ overall propensity to take advice (Ecken and Pibernik, 2016). Taking advice and relinquishing one’s decision-making autonomy may be threatening to the self-concept or construed self-image (Rader et al., 2017). Decision-makers may worry that taking advice will reduce their freedom to make a decision that is consistent with their own values, beliefs, or identity (Ashford and Barton, 2007). They may also worry that taking advice will make them appear less competent or less confident in their own judgement (Rader et al., 2017).Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentAdvice-Taking in Ethical Decision-MakingAlthough not explicitly studied within the advice-taking literature, several studies in the ethical decision-making literature provide insights about the influence others can have on the ethical decision-making process. One of the earliest considerations of the role of others on ethical decision-making within organizations was Trevino’s person- situation interactionist model. This model suggests that decision-makers who are field dependent or who exhibit a lower level of cognitive moral development (i.e., Conventional moral development stages 3 and 4) will be more open to influence when they are facing ethical issues (Treviño, 1986). Research has also explored the role of social influence in spreading and maintaining corruption within organizations (Ashforth and Anand, 2003; Bandura, 1999). Finally, the social constructionist model of ethical decision-making (Sonenshein, 2007) posits that ethical issues are recognized and defined through social interaction but moral judgments are made intuitively by individuals.Within the ethical decision-making literature there are mixed signals as to whether seeking or accepting advice will lead to more or less ethical decisions. On the one hand, researchers have provided theory and research in support of ethical decision support systems such as ethics hotlines, ethics training, and reporting requirements for employees (Kaptein, 1999; Thorne et al., 2004; Lange, 2008). In one study of accounting professionals, seeking advice from a professional body about ethical issues was treated as a measure of ethical behavior in itself (McManus and Subramaniam, 2009). On the other hand, researchers have often implied that individuals who have a strong moral compass will not be influenced by others when making ethical decisions (Trevino, 1986). Empirical research suggests that individuals with a high internal locus of control make more ethical decisions than those with an external locus of control (Street and Street, 2006). Researchers from social psychology and organizational studies have often highlighted the corrupting effect that social influence can have on ethical decision- making in organizations (Ashforth and Anand, 2003; Brief et al., 2001; Vaughan, 1999).Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentAlthough ethical decisions are a particular type of decision, they are still decisions after all, thus it seems likely that good advice could help improve ethical decision-338FRANKLIN AND GUERBERJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020making. However, because ethical decisions are complex judgmental decisions, it may be difficult for decision-makers to distinguish good versus bad advice. Furthermore, while some ethical decision-makers may wish to use good advice in order to improve the quality of their decisions, others may use advice indiscriminately for social validation or to share responsibility for their decisions. In this study two models of advice-taking are developed and tested. The first is based on existing advice-taking research and is referred to as the General Advice-Taking (GAT) model. The second is based on factors specific to ethical decision contexts and is referred to as the Ethical Decision Advice- Taking (EDAT) model. Testing these two models provides insight into whether existing advice-taking research can be generalized to ethical decision contexts or whether more nuanced models are needed to understand advice-taking preferences in ethical decision- making.THEORY AND HYPOTHESESGeneral Advice-Taking (GAT) ModelThe GAT model, illustrated in Figure I, is a distillation of factors which have been consistently found to influence openness to advice in the advice-taking literature. This model predicts that openness to advice will be influenced by perceived decision characteristics and individual characteristics of the decision-maker. Based on previous research, the GAT model predicts that uncertainty and ambiguity tolerance influence openness to advice and that the relationship between uncertainty and openness to advice will vary as a function of decision-makers’ tolerance for ambiguity.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentUncertainty is a strong driving force in decision-making in that it provides an occasion for sensemaking (Sonenshein, 2007; Weick, 1995). Uncertainty has been defined in three major ways in the literature: the extent to which decision-makers are unable to predict probabilities of future events or states of the environment; the extentUncertaintyOpenness to Advice ATUnc. X ATFigure I Generic Advice-Taking (GAT) ModelNote: Unc. = Uncertainty; AT = Ambiguity Tolerance339ADVICE-TAKING IN ETHICAL DILEMMASJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020to which they lack information regarding cause-effect relationships; and the extent to which they are unable to predict the outcomes of their decisions (Milliken, 1987). When people are faced with high levels of state, effect, or response uncertainty, they are thrust into a state of ignorance, which in turn prompts them to engage in “careful discovery” (Weick, 1995: 95), prompting advice-taking. As decision-makers’ perceptions of uncertainty increase, their confidence in their own ability to understand and respond to the decision task decreases, in turn increasing their openness to advice.Some decision-makers are more comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity than others, and this characteristic is also likely to influence advice-taking preferences such that ambiguity tolerance will relate negatively to openness to advice. Individuals who are more comfortable with ambiguity are more likely to be confident in their ability to handle the decision independently, whereas individuals who are less tolerant of ambiguity are likely to be less comfortable with the decision task and to look to outside sources for advice. Furthermore, ambiguity tolerance is also likely to moderate the relationship between uncertainty and openness to advice. Specifically, the relationship between uncertainty and openness to advice is likely to be strongest when ambiguity tolerance is low, and much weaker when ambiguity tolerance is high. Individuals who have a high tolerance for ambiguity may still recognize uncertainty in a decision situation but they will be less likely than others to alter their decision-making process and advice-taking preferences as a result of uncertainty. The predictions derived from the GAT models are summarized in the following hypotheses:Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentHypothesis 1: Uncertainty is positively related to openness to advice in ethicaldecision-making. Hypothesis 2: Ambiguity tolerance is negatively related to openness to advice in ethicaldecision-making. Hypothesis 3: The positive relationship between uncertainty and openness to advice isstronger (conversely, weaker) when ambiguity tolerance is low (high).Ethical Decision Advice-Taking (EDAT) ModelEthical decisions involve the application of moral norms or standards and potentially have negative impacts on stakeholders (Treviño, 1986). Such decisions present unique challenges to decision-makers who must evaluate competing stakeholder claims, and apply moral values and principles to judge between these claims, all the while faced with high levels of uncertainty and difficulty in decision-making (Chia and Lim, 2000; Waters et al., 1986). In the vocabulary of advice-taking research, ethical decisions are inherently judgmental – as opposed to intellective – decision tasks. In judgmental decision-making, evaluations of the quality and value of advice are subjective, and openness to advice is a function of decision-makers’ trust in their own judgment as well as their willingness to trust the judgment of an advisor. The EDAT model, illustrated in Figure II, suggests that factors which are uniquely relevant in ethical decision-making influence openness to advice in ethical decision situations.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment340FRANKLIN AND GUERBERJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020Moral recognition means that a decision-maker understands that a decision has ethical implications and requires a moral judgment, and has often been depicted as a necessary first step of the ethical decision process (Rest, 1986; Jones, 1991). Moral recognition could impact openness to advice-taking in two ways. First, moral recognition may increase decision-makers’ perceptions of the importance of the decision. Second, moral recognition may increase decision-makers’ concern for the self-concept and construed self-image implications of the decision. On one hand, increased perceptions of a decision’s importance should increase a decision-maker’s openness to advice. On the other hand, increased concern for one’s self-concept and construed self-image is likely to increase a decision-maker’s desire for autonomy, and reduce their openness to advice. Thus, the relationship between moral recognition and openness to advice is likely to vary depending on whether moral recognition leads to increased concern for the ethical implications or to increased concern for one’s self-concept and image. Ultimately, the relationship between moral recognition and openness to advice may vary depending on the characteristics of decision-makers.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentOne individual characteristic which is specifically relevant in ethical decision- making is dispositional moral disengagement. Dispositional moral disengagement is a general tendency of individuals to “disengage internalized moral standards” (Kish- Gephart et al., 2014) across situations. According to social cognitive theory, individuals develop standards of moral or ethical behavior through life experiences (Bandura, 1999). These moral standards serve a regulatory role and thus bring about ethical behavior when they are activated (Bandura, 1999). However, certain individual traits have been proposed to make people more likely to disengage their internal moral standards across a broad range of situations (Detert et al., 2008; Moore, 2008).Dispositional moral disengagement may affect advice-taking preferences in two ways. First, individuals who are morally disengaged may not even recognize the moral or ethical content of situations they are faced with. Second, individuals who recognize the moral content of ethical decisions may use various mechanisms like moral justification, euphemistic labeling, and diffusion of responsibility to diminish their own perceptions of the importance of the ethical implications of the decision (Bandura, 1999). Thus, dispositional moral disengagement systematically affects one’s response to ethical situations and one’s receptivity to advice in these situations. Individuals with highDMDOpenness to AdviceDMD X MRFigure II Ethical Decision Advice-Taking (EDAT) ModelNote: MR = Moral Recognition; DMD = Dispositional Moral Disengagement.341ADVICE-TAKING IN ETHICAL DILEMMASJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020levels of dispositional moral disengagement are unlikely to be concerned about the ethical implications of a decision and unconcerned about the quality of their decision. Such individuals are likely to be happy to sacrifice decision-making autonomy in exchange for reducing their own effort and responsibility for the decision. These decision-makers are likely to be motivated to take advice in order to share responsibility rather than improve the quality of their decision. Thus, morally disengaged decision- makers may be open to a broad range of advice (as long as it reduces their own decision- making effort and responsibility) and have little concern for the quality of the advice.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentDispositional moral disengagement is also likely to moderate the relationship between moral recognition and openness to advice. Individuals who are low in dispositional moral disengagement are more sensitive to ethical issues and may be particularly motivated to make a morally correct choice. Since the moral correctness of a choice is largely a function of the social acceptability of that choice and/or the decision process used to arrive at it, these people may become more motivated to seek opinions and consult with experienced people around them as the perceived ethical implications of the decision increase. In contrast, individuals with high dispositional moral disengagement may have a very different approach when they perceive ethical implications of the decision. Disregarding the potential consequences of the decision for stakeholders, these people may worry primarily about their image when faced with an ethical issue. For these individuals increased moral recognition is likely to lead to an increased desire to appear confident and competent in their ability to make an ethical decision. Thus, individuals with high dispositional moral disengagement are likely to become less open to advice as moral recognition increases. The relationships predicted by the EDAT model are summarized in the following hypotheses:Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentHypothesis 4: Dispositional moral disengagement is positively related to openness toadvice. Hypothesis 5: Moral recognition and dispositional moral disengagement interact suchthat individuals with low (high) dispositional moral disengagement become more (less) open to advice as moral recognition increases.METHODProcedureExperimental vignette methods have been used extensively in the field of behavioral ethics as they enable researchers to study sensitive topics and achieve high levels of internal and external validity at the same time (Aguinis and Bradley, 2014). For this study, realistic and immersive scenarios were used to introduce participants to hypothetical decisions and to study advice-taking preferences. A two-wave scenario- based survey was used to examine the proposed models of advice-taking. In the first wave of the survey, participants were presented with a neutral job-choice scenario followed by measures of the variables of interest. This job choice scenario is a modified version of that administered by Dalal and Bonaccio (2010), where students must decide between five job offers to accept upon graduation. Data from the first wave provided some baseline information and was primarily used for the measurement of dispositional variables (i.e., ambiguity tolerance and dispositional moral disengagement). In the second wave of the survey, an ethical decision-making scenario involving the342Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentFRANKLIN AND GUERBERJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020discontinuation of a need-based scholarship by a student organization was presented. Following the presentation of the scenario and advice snippets, independent and dependent variables were measured.SampleUndergraduate business students (N=155) at a large public university in the southern United States were recruited to participate in the study in exchange for course points. While the use of student samples has been broadly criticized in organizational research, it is appropriate to use student samples in certain situations, especially when studying the relationships between theoretically-relevant variables like ambiguity tolerance and dispositional moral disengagement on ethical decision-making (Randall and Gibson, 1990). Student participants were informed of their rights and were offered reasonable alternative opportunities to gain the course points offered for the study. Out of the 155 students who participated in the first wave, 134 students also participated in the second wave of the survey. Four responses were dropped due to large amounts of missing data, yielding an overall response rate of 83.9%. There were no significant differences in age, sex, or years of work experience between participants who responded to the second wave and those who dropped out after the first wave of the study.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentMeasuresAmbiguity Tolerance. Ambiguity tolerance was measured using 13 items from the MSTAT-II scale developed and refined by McLain (2009). Three sample items are “I try to avoid situations that are ambiguous,” “I find it hard to make a choice when the outcome is uncertain,” and “I generally prefer novelty over familiarity,” rated on five- point Likert scales from 1 = Strongly Disagree to 5 = Strongly Agree. Cronbach’s alpha for the measure was 0.85.Dispositional Moral Disengagement. Dispositional moral disengagement was measured using eight items from Detert and colleagues’ (2008) 24-item scale that tapped into eight distinct moral disengagement mechanisms (Martin et al., 2014). These items were slightly modified to fit the decision-making context. Two sample items are “Some people have to be treated roughly because they lack feelings that can be hurt” and “Taking something without the owner’s permission is okay as long as you’re just borrowing it,” rated on five-point Likert scales anchored from 1 = Strongly Disagree to 5 = Strongly Agree. Alpha for the scale was 0.86.Uncertainty. Uncertainty was measured using six items developed by Franklin et al. (2013), building on Milliken’s (1987) definition of the construct. Sample items are “The consequences of my decision are not clear” and “I cannot predict how my decision will play out,” rated on five-point Likert scales anchored from 1 = Strongly Disagree to 5 = Strongly Agree. Alpha for the scale was 0.83.Moral Recognition. Moral recognition was measured using five items developed for the study from Butterfield et al.’s (2000) definition of the construct. Two sample items are “There is some party that is harmed no matter what decision I make” and “Welfare of some student might be negatively affected by my decision,” both rated on five-point Likert scales anchored from 1 = Strongly Disagree to 5 = Strongly Agree. Alpha for the measure was 0.92. A measure of perceived moral intensity was used to establish the nomological validity of the scale. Specifically, as per Jones’ (1991) issue-contingent343Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentADVICE-TAKING IN ETHICAL DILEMMASJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020model of ethical decision-making, there ought to be a moderately strong positive correlation between perceived issue characteristics (i.e., magnitude of consequences, social consensus, probability of effect, temporal immediacy, proximity and concentration of effect; Jones, 1991) and moral recognition. Perceived moral intensity was measured using six items developed from Jones’ (1991) definition. Two sample items are “There is very small likelihood that my decision will actually cause harm” and “My decision will not cause harm in the immediate future” (both reverse coded) rated on five-point Likert scales anchored from 1 = Strongly Disagree to 5 = Strongly Agree ( = 0.71). As expected, perceived moral intensity strongly correlated with moral recognition, r = 0.56, p < 0.01, lending evidence towards construct validity.Openness to Recommendations. Following the presentation of recommendation-for and recommendation-against advice snippets, openness to recommendations was measured using two four-item scales developed by Dalal and Bonaccio (2010). Sample items are “How satisfied would you be with this interaction?” and “How useful would this interaction be for you?” rated on five-point Likert scales anchored from 1 = Not at all to 5 = Extremely. Cronbach’s alpha for the scale was 0.95. Using data from the first wave of the study, a principal axis exploratory factor analysis was performed with Varimax rotation on the eight items. As expected, one factor emerged, explaining 68.66% of variance in the items. A visual examination of the Scree plot also confirmed the one-factor solution. Factor loadings of individual items varied from 0.79 to 0.89, supporting the unidimensionality of the measure.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentRESULTS AND DISCUSSIONThe correlations between the measured variables are presented in Table 1.Openness to recommendations was negatively correlated with moral recognition, and positively correlated with dispositional moral disengagement. Further, moral recognition and dispositional moral disengagement were negatively correlated with each other, indicating a rather complex relationship between these two variables and the dependent variable. Uncertainty and ambiguity tolerance were not significantly correlated with openness to recommendations. These correlations suggest that openness to advice in ethical decision-making relate significantly to factors in the EDAT model but not those in the GAT model.Hypotheses were tested by regressing openness to recommendations on the centered main effect and interaction terms (Cohen et al., 2013). Hypothesis 1 predicted a positive main effect of uncertainty on openness to advice. Hypothesis 2 predicted that ambiguity tolerance would be negatively related to openness to advice, and Hypothesis 3 predicted that the strength of the relationship between uncertainty and openness to advice would be moderated by ambiguity tolerance. Results of this regression analysis are presented in Table 2. The main effect model (R2 = 0.02, F(2,127) = 1.40, p > 0.10) and the interaction model ( R2 = 0.01, Fchange(1,126) = 1.20, p > 0.10) failed to significantly explain variance in openness to recommendations. Although the coefficients of variables in this model were in the expected directions, none of them were statistically significant. As such, the GAT model and Hypotheses 1, 2, and 3 did not receive support in the ethical decision-making context.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment344FRANKLIN AND GUERBERJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020Table 1 Descriptive Statistics and CorrelationsVariable M SD 1 2 3 41. Ambiguity Tolerance 3.26 0.542. DMD 1.82 0.70 -0.25**3. Moral Recognition 4.23 0.66 0.14 -0.23**4. Uncertainty 3.29 0.79 -0.07 0.00 0.43**5. Openness to Recommendations1.74 0.77 -0.14 0.32** -0.15 0.05Note: N = 130. DMD = Dispositional Moral Disengagement. M = Mean. SD = Standard Deviation.p < 0.1, * p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01Table 2 Regression Results: General Advice-Taking (GAT) ModelVariables Main Effect InteractionUncertainty 0.04 0.02Ambiguity Tolerance -0.14 -0.12AT X Uncertainty -0.10R 2 0.02 0.03R 2 0.02 0.01Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentF change1.40 1.20Note: Standardized Beta coefficients are reported. p < 0.1, * p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01Hypothesis 4 predicted that openness to advice would be positively related todispositional moral disengagement, and Hypothesis 5 predicted that the relationship between moral recognition and openness to advice would be positive for individuals with low dispositional moral disengagement and negative for those with high dispositional moral disengagement. As before, these hypotheses were tested by regressing openness to recommendations on the centered main effect and interaction terms. Results of this analysis are presented in Table 3. As predicted, the relationship between dispositional moral disengagement and openness to advice is positive and significant ( = 0.30, p < 0.01) lending support to Hypothesis 4. The interaction model ( R2 = 0.05, Fchange(1,126) = 6.81, p < 0.05) significantly explained variance in openness to recommendations,345ADVICE-TAKING IN ETHICAL DILEMMASJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020beyond that accounted for by the main effect model (R2 = 0.11, F(2,127) = 7.73, p < 0.01). Interactions were plotted to aid in the interpretation of results. As seen in Figure III, the relationship between moral recognition and openness to advice is positive for individuals with low dispositional moral disengagement and negative for those with high dispositional moral disengagement.This study provides novel insights about the impact of situational and individual factors on decision-makers’ willingness to take advice when faced with ethical decisions. First, it is noteworthy that the EDAT model captures factors which influence openness to recommendations in ethical decision situations whereas the GAT model does not. Previous research has often focused on the impact of uncertainty and difficulty on decision-makers’ advice-taking behaviors (e.g., Gino and Moore, 2007; Lipshitz and Strauss, 1997), but these studies have not explicitly explored advice-taking in ethical situations. Results from this study demonstrating a relationship between factors specific to ethical decision-making and openness to recommendations suggest there may in fact be important differences between the drivers of advice-taking in ethical and non-ethical situations. Future work should focus on understanding the differences in advice-taking behaviors in ethical versus non-ethical decisions. What types of advice do people prefer in ethical decision-making? Do advice preferences change with an increase in moral intensity of the decision? Does advice from internal organizational stakeholders versus external stakeholders systematically affect the quality or acceptability of the final decision? If so, how can managers encourage advice-taking in ethical decision-making, and how might researchers help decision-makers recognize and use good advice when faced with ethical decisions? These lines of inquiry will help advance researchers’ understanding of interpersonal and social influences in ethical decision-making – an area that has been somewhat ignored in the behavioral ethics field (see Treviño et al., 2014).Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentTable 3 Regression Results: Ethical Decision Advice-Taking (EDAT) ModelVariables Main Effect InteractionMoral Recognition -0.08 -0.07DMD 0.30** 0.27**DMD X Moral Recognition -0.22**R 2 0.11** 0.15**R 2 0.11** 0.05*F change7.73** 6.81*Note: Standardized Beta coefficients are reported. DMD = Dispositional Moral Disengagementp < 0.1, * p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01346FRANKLIN AND GUERBERJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020Figure III Interaction between Moral Recognition and DMDNote: DMD = Dispositional Moral DisengagementNext, it is also noteworthy that dispositional moral disengagement influences openness to advice and moderates the relationship between moral recognition and openness to recommendations. Organizations often implement ethical decision support systems in order to increase the quality and reliability of ethical decision outcomes within the organization (see Mathieson, 2007). Such support systems may be informal, relying on information and advice networks to ensure that organization members understand and follow relevant norms when facing ethical decisions. In other cases, ethical decision support systems may be formal, relying on codified policies and procedures to ensure that ethical issues are referred to the appropriate individuals and handled consistently. Informal ethical decision support systems are especially reliant on individuals’ willingness to seek and take advice regarding ethical issues, and even with formal ethical decision systems there is a risk that individuals may not recognize ethical issues or may choose to ignore such issues even when they are noticed. Results of this study suggest that those decision-makers who are least concerned about the ethical implications of their decisions may be the most likely to use such advice systems, thus ensuring that these systems provide high quality advice may improve ethical decision outcomes.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentFindings further suggest that managers should consider individual differences which impact openness to advice when designing and implementing ethical decision support systems. Of course, the specific designs of such systems would depend on the goals of the organization. If the organization wants to ensure that ethical decisions are handled efficiently and consistently, finding ways to encourage individuals to seek and accept recommendations from knowledgeable advisers may be important. Many interesting research questions come to light. Can incentive systems be used to supersede individual differences and ensure employee engagement with ethical decision support00.511.522.5O pen nes sto Rec omm end atio nsMoral RecognitionHigh DMD Low DMDLow High347ADVICE-TAKING IN ETHICAL DILEMMASJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020systems? If the organization wants to override these individual differences and encourage creativity in ethical decision-making, should managers find ways to encourage moral dialogue that is perhaps not designed to lead to an immediate recommendation? Answers to these questions may be helpful to organizations seeking to implement ethical decision support systems.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentThe nature of the interaction between dispositional moral disengagement and moral recognition in influencing advice-taking is also interesting for several reasons. The slopes of the relationships demonstrate that individuals with high levels of dispositional moral disengagement become less open to recommendations as moral recognition becomes stronger, whereas individuals with low levels of dispositional moral disengagement become more open to recommendations as moral recognition becomes stronger. It is notable that overall, individuals with high levels of moral disengagement are more open to advice in ethical decisions than their counterparts with low levels of dispositional moral disengagement. While additional research is needed to fully understand this relationship, it may suggest that morally disengaged individuals are more content to take recommendations in order to reduce their personal responsibility for an ethical decision or to simply reduce their own effort and deliberation in making a choice. An interesting avenue for future research would be to examine groups consisting of one or more morally disengaged individuals. Since most organizational decisions are made in a group context, there is reason to believe that morally disengaged individuals may have disruptive influences on group ethical decision-making.Overall, this study suggests that it should not be assumed that previous advice- taking research will generalize to ethical decision-making. Instead, advice-taking preferences and behaviors in ethical decisions are influenced by factors uniquely relevant to ethical decision situations. Additionally, concepts related to behavioral ethics and decision-making organizations such as self-serving bias, overconfidence bias, groupthink, peer pressure, and information processing may provide valuable insights into the processes by which decision-makers seek, evaluate, and use advice when faced with ethical decisions. This study provides novel information about factors that influence openness to advice in ethical decision-making as well as a clear foundation for additional research exploring advice-taking in ethical decision-making.Limitations and Directions for Future ResearchThe motivation of this study was not to comprehensively answer all questions about advice-taking in ethical decision-making. Instead, the motivation was to test whether unique factors affect advice-taking in ethical, as opposed to non-ethical, decision- making. Findings suggest that unique factors do play a role in shaping advice-taking preferences in ethical decision-making. Despite its unique contributions to understanding advice-taking in ethical dilemmas, this study has certain limitations that need to be addressed. First, this study used a vignette to analyze responses to a hypothetical ethical dilemma. While experimental vignette methods are often used to study responses to ethical dilemmas in the field of behavioral ethics (see Kish-Gephart et al., 2014), this methodology is limited by its lack of realism (McGrath, 1984). Efforts were taken to make the decision scenarios as realistic as possible, but it is plausible that participants may respond differently to hypothetical decision tasks compared to real- world decisions. Also, ethical issues can vary across many dimensions, including the extent to which they are judgmental or intellective in nature. The use of just one ethical348Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay AssignmentFRANKLIN AND GUERBERJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020decision task in the current study limits its ability to discern the impact of other characteristics of ethical issues on advice-taking. Future research could explore how various characteristics of ethical decisions impact advice-taking. Additionally, although openness to advice is a relevant outcome, this study does not provide direct information about the extent to which decision-makers will ultimately be influenced by advice. Future research might use alternative methods (e.g., a natural experiment) and/or measures (e.g., advice-taking behavior) to study advice-taking in ethical decision-making.Second, in the current study, advice was operationalized as recommendations for or against particular choice options. While this is in line with much of the previous advice-taking research, Bonaccio and Dalal (2006) emphasize that recommendations are but one of several types of advice that might be given. Other forms of advice include information about options, information or suggestions about how to go about making the decision (i.e., decision process support), and social support. Previous research suggests that supporting information is particularly important in judgmental decision tasks (Ecken and Pibernik, 2016; Tzioti et al., 2014). This suggests that decision-makers facing ethical issues might react more favorably to information about options than to simple, unsupported recommendations. Future research could explore differences in ethical decision-makers’ openness to various types of advice.Third, while this study explores the impact of dispositional moral disengagement on openness to advice in ethical decision-making, it is likely that other decision-maker characteristics also impact openness to advice. Following the contours of research in advice-taking, research in the ethical decision-making context could explore additional decision-maker and advisor characteristics on advice-taking in ethical decision-making. Decision-maker characteristics which have been explored in the ethical decision-making literature such as locus of control, cognitive moral development, and Machiavellianism may be worth exploring. It is also possible that links may exist between openness to advice and demographic characteristics such as age, gender, tenure in an organization or profession, and education.Future research could also explore the impact of advisor characteristics on openness to advice in ethical decision-making. Previous research has found that openness to advice can be impacted by the perceived expertise of the advisor as well as similarity between the advisor and the decision-maker. It seems likely that ethical decision-makers may be more open to advice from advisors who they believe share their own values. This may be particularly true among ethically-sensitive decision-makers who are concerned with making a decision with which they feel morally comfortable. Decision-makers with high dispositional moral disengagement may be more concerned with making decisions that will be accepted by other members of the organization and may prefer advice from someone in a position of authority or someone who is held in high esteem within the organization. Future research could explore the impact of these characteristics on openness to advice and could also seek to understand how ethical decision-makers evaluate the values or expertise of advisors in an ethical decision context. Additionally, since ethical decisions often affect stakeholders outside of the organization, it would be valuable to understand factors that influence decision-makers’ openness to advice from external parties.Finally, future research should seek to understand if or when taking advice improves the quality of ethical decision-making. First, research should seek to understand the conditions under which ethical decision-makers actually use advice.Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment349ADVICE-TAKING IN ETHICAL DILEMMASJOURNAL OF MANAGERIAL ISSUES VOL. XXXII NUMBER 3 Fall 2020While previous advice-taking studies have used objective decision scenarios in order to quantitatively measure the weight of advice, ethical decisions do not lend themselves to such straightforward measures of the extent to which decision-makers use advice. Thus, researchers will need to explore more creative and nuanced ways to examine the extent to which advice impacts ethical decisions. One option might be to ask the decision- maker to explain the thought process behind their decision after they have made a choice. This could provide insight into how much consideration decision-makers gave to advice and whether they ultimately acquiesced to the advice or not. Such a technique might even provide insight into whether the decision-maker would have preferred another type of advice or advice from additional sources as well. Next, research should explore the impact of advice on decision outcomes. Does advice help decision-makers recognize additional options? Does taking advice lead to more positive perceptions of the decision process and outcome from the perspective of the decision-maker or other audiences? Understanding the impact of advice on ethical decision outcomes will be foundational to the development of effective ethical decision support systems in organizations.ReferencesAguinis, H., and K. J. Bradley. 2014. “Best Practice Recommendations for Designing and Implementing Experimental Vignette Methodology Studies.” Organizational Research Methods 17: 351-371.Ashford, S. J., and M. Barton. 2007. “Identity-Based Issue Selling.” In Identity and the Modern Organization. Eds. C. Bartel, S. Blader, and A. Wrzesniewski. 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Milyavsky. 2011. “Receiving Advice on Matters ofTaste: Similarity, Majority Influence, and Taste Discrimination.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 115: 111-120.353Copyright of Journal of Managerial Issues is the property of Journal of Managerial Issues / PSU and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. Advice-Taking in Ethical Dilemmas Essay Assignment

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