Ethical Dilemma

When at work, people are expected to behave and make decisions that are guided by certain principles. The principles may be professional or personal, but all have to guide you into making a decision that will be the best for you, your colleagues and the organization at large. Sometimes the situations may be rather complex leaving us in a state of confusion on what to do and what to ignore. The professional values that will guide us most include the professional ethics and the laws and policies of your organization. On the other hand, you have to balance all these with the personal or societal values. These include what you or the society believes and the morals of how you are supposed to behave when in an individual situation. Therefore, the nature of any ethical dilemma is and leaves a person in a state of mental conflict between moral which you believe are right and the ethics that you are supposed to follow as you do your work duties.

Three conditions of an ethical dilemma

The first condition is that there must exist an agent. This is the person that has to make a decision on which course of action to take when faced with a complex situation. The second condition that will dictate whether a situation is an ethical dilemma is that there must exist more than one course of action to choose from. This brings us to the third condition. Regardless of the course of action that you take, there must be some ethical principle that will have to be compromised. It is, therefore, correct or true to conclude or say that there is no perfect solution to an ethical dilemma. It is paramount to note that there may be some situations that one does not feel comfortable in, but they do not have a choice. These are not classified as ethical dilemmas.

Types of Ethical dilemmas

There are only two kinds of ethical dilemmas. One is the “pure” or “absolute” dilemma. This is when two or more ethical standards are applying to a situation, but they are in conflict with each other. Any solution will have to defy one of the ethical standards. Other situations require one to make a choice but not between any ethical standards. Here the conflict may be between conflicting policies, laws or values. Such a dilemma is referred to as an approximate ethical dilemma.

When solving an ethical dilemma, you need first to understand what kind of a dilemma it is. You then gather all the facts surrounding your situation. The ethical decision-making model is of great help when solving an ethical dilemma issue.

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