Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Charles F. Gressard


Acting ethically is a core facet of the counseling profession's identity, safeguarding clients from undue harm (ACA, 2005). Through an increased understanding of both detrimental and positive factors that can influence counselors' perceptions of ethical behaviors, the counseling profession can intervene accordingly; this knowledge may assist in managing the problem related to unethical infractions. However, ethical behavior is a multifaceted and complex phenomenon, leaving many factors to be explored and examined. Workplace aggression, exposure to normative unethical behaviors, and an integrated modal of morality constitute some of these factors that warrant further investigation. A dearth of research currently exists within the counseling profession that examines the effects of workplace aggression and exposure to normative unethical behavior on counselors' perceptions of ethicality. Additionally, mediating variables in the context of acting ethically have scantly been researched within the counseling profession, including moral development and the moral foundations of care, fairness, and justice (integrated modal of morality). The present study investigated these various variables and the subsequent affects/relationships that ensued on counselors' perceptions of ethicality. Two phases of research were conducted: a pilot study (n = 166) that assisted in the development a Perceived Ethical Perceptions Instrument and a main study (n = 76) that assessed perceived ethicality contingent on the variables of workplace aggression, normative unethical behaviors, and the integrated modal of morality. Results from this study substantiated the complexity inherent within perceptions of ethicality, indicating that certain contextual factors may affect facets of perceived ethicality differently. of particular interest, the current study indicated that workplace aggression and the occurrence of unethical infractions by work supervisors/bosses and peers necessitated further investigation.;Keywords: ethical perceptions, workplace aggression, integrative modal of morality.



© The Author