Sorting out ethical dilemmas

Two options exist. Each is ‘right’ in its own way. Which do you choose?

This is an example of an ethical dilemma. It is a situation in one set of values conflicts with another. For example, achieving a profit might conflict with refusing to participate in bribery or corruption. Making decisions in such situations can be tough. Some common sources of ethical dilemmas in today’s workplaces include:

  • Recruitment and promotion decisions
  • Decisions relating to client service and sales
  • Exchange and use of information
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Maintenance of confidentiality

In order to resolve ethical dilemmas, you need tools for analysing, assessing and solving problems. Foster and Black suggest that by viewing ethical dilemmas through four different ‘lenses’ you can work out the best way to resolve them. The chart below expands on this idea. It provides questions you can use to guide your decision making in tough situations.

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