Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am Psychol. 2012 Oct;67(7):557-69. doi: 10.1037/a0027206. Epub 2012 Feb 20.

The competent community: toward a vital reformulation of professional ethics.

Author information

Department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD 21402, USA.


Psychologists are ethically obligated to ensure their own competence. When problems of professional competence occur, psychologists must take appropriate steps to regain competence while protecting those they serve. Yet conceptualizations of the competence obligation are thoroughly intertwined with Western ideals of individualism and a model of the person as self-contained, self-controlled, and perpetually rational. Research in health care, education, and multicultural and social psychology raise serious doubts about psychologists' capacity for consistently accurate self-assessments of competence. To address this problem, the authors advocate that education, training, professional ethics standards, and credentialing criteria be infused with a robust communitarian ethos and a culturally pervasive ethic of care. The authors propose a shift in discourse about competence to incorporate both competent individuals and competent communities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons


    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for American Psychological Association
    Loading ...
    Support Center