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Ethics in Human Resource Management essay

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Introduction Standards, morals, values, and ethics have become Increasingly complicated In today's society where absolutes have given way to tolerance and ambiguity. This affects human resource managers, where decisions will affect people jobs. Ethics is the discipline that deals with what is right and wrong or with moral duty and obligation (Moody, 2013, p. 24). Human resource management deals with the work force planning and development. Human resource ethics is the application of ethical principles to human resource relationships and activities (Monody, 2013, p. 0). It Is the unman resource department that really matters when It comes to ethics since it deals with human issues such as compensation, safety, health and development. It is important that companies are ethical in their decision making. When a company has good ethical behavior, they serve as a role model for their employees as well as their community. This behavior promotes social responsibility and lets employees know that the company is trustworthy with integrity.

It Is mainly up to the Individual, employee or the human social unit who benefits from ethics. Ethics Is Important for he following reasons: satisfying human basic needs, creating credibility, uniting people with leadership, improving decision making, long term gains and securing society (Importance of Ethics, 2013, Para 2). Companies must put strategies in place in order to ensure all employees within the company are able to make ethical decisions. Using ethical business practices are a key for long term success.

Current Situation Most large corporations within the united States now have a code of ethics, which encompasses written conduct standards, internal education, and formal agreements n industry standards (Monody, 201 3, p. 24). Even with standards in place, business ethics scandals continue to make headlines today. Although ethics Involve more Issue than compensation, It seems as If the majority of unethical acts are motivated by financial reasons. Recently, a group of Atlanta teachers were Indicted on a cheating scandal.

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Teachers would sit in a room for hours erasing wrong answers and marking the correct answers. The motivation behind this was for the, superintendent to receive high test scores because high test scores equal bonus money. Doctors are ailing insurance companies for work not completed; by doing this doctors are committing fraud in order to have financial gain. Investment films are operating ponds schemes, which Involve selling Ideas of large returns, whereas companies are taking funds from new investors and paying dividends to old investors.

There is no form of occupation that has not had its own ethnically issues in the recent years. In order to avoid situations mentioned in the examples, human resource management aim to attract the right people with the right frame of mind to contribute to the company. They are looking for Individuals that are able to grow and with the company. As the company grows, employees also grow In knowledge and come automatically. It takes training and experience to make effective decisions. Decision making is a task HRS is faced with every day.

They have to decide on a daily basis on how issues should be handled ethically and with integrity. 3 Analysis of Issue Human resources play a major role in applying ethical principles. Human resource managers set examples for the rest of the company. Most large companies have a human resource department in which employees have someone to help them with efferent issues, which includes managing sick days, holiday pay, hiring, firing, and everyday issues employees have. Without a human resource department, disputes that arise between the company and employees or either two employees would take time to resolve.

Human resources are put into place, to help rectify any situations that may arise. The success of most companies is based on the role played by human resource. Human resource will work to ensure that employees are happy, and when disputes need to be resolved there is a neutral party involved who can implement policies. Management decisions made honestly while taking all aspects into consideration. In human resource management, firing, hiring, and compensation must be treated fairly. For example, a male manager should not hire a woman that is less experience but is more attractive.

This is a form of discrimination and holds no ethical morals. Making ethical business decisions consistently, is the key to a long term business success. Knowing how to make these decisions helps a company set standards throughout the organization (Ingram, 2011). One topic that most professionals do not want to discuss is ethical and integrity sues in a profession. Ethics and integrity are very important in all professions, but some positions such as human resources are expected to uphold a higher standard of ethical behavior.

Human resources play an important role in an organization; they should be careful that all actions are handled fairly within the restrictions of the law. Human resource professionals should be objective and balance the needs of employees and management; naturally they need to do what is best for the 4 company. Honestly, it does not always work that way because human resource refashions are also humans which mean they too can have their own agenda that may complicate situations. If human resource professions are not prepared to do what is right, then the employee and the company lose.

Integrity in HRS begins with treating employees respectfully. When employees feel they are not treated with the respect, they no longer trust the HRS professionals. Serbians-Solely Act protects employees that report corporations and management on to civil and criminal penalties for retailing, harassing, or discriminating against employees who report suspected wrong doings (Monody, 2013, p. 8). Serbians Solely Act protects employees that management cannot suspend, demote, harass, or discriminate against an employee. Ethics is required when choosing a profession in human resource management.

Employees within a corporation should review, develop and ensure policies are being adhered throughout the organization. All employees should take the time to determine what is ethical and unethical to their training program geared towards ethics training, which explained the minimum requirements for an effective program that will prevent and discover violations. Ethics in general is a system of good and bad and fair and unfair. Ethics is affected by three primary forces: religion, culture and laws of the state.

Religion is the oldest foundation; it draws a line between the good and the bad in society. This is based on different types of people. Culture defines the different behaviors and values from one generation to another. Some values are treasured as being ideal than others and are deemed as what determines right from wrong. Laws are the procedures that are put in place by the legal system. The problem with the laws is hat expectations cannot be covered with the law when the environment is continually changing (management study guide, 2013). Conclusion When tasked with making ethical decisions, a few steps should be kept in mind throughout the decision making process such as integrity, consideration of impact, legalities, fidelity, fairness and input receiving (Screener, 2013). To make ethical decisions, the decision maker must feel independent. If he/she does not, then the decision maker will most likely make a decision that is unethical. In ethics, integrity is the honesty and accuracy of one's actions. Individuals that work in human resources have to remember that decisions made have an impact a person's lively hood and should be taken seriously.

Sometimes human resources are the only ones that can view issues objectively if the responsibility is taken serious then everyone benefits. Human resource professionals are debated within work places daily. Some employees see HRS as the neutral party between employees and management in regards to handling issues fairly. Others see them as being the gatekeeper for executive management and do not hold any interest in employee concerns. Being a unman resource professional requires showing respect towards individual needs.

Employees must feel they are being treated with respect no matter race, gender or disability. If the human resource department wishes to earn respect from employees, HRS must be sure to work hard to value all individuals' unique talents, and respect their dignity. A corporation's strength depends on the unity and diversity of employees. Diversity offers different ideas to a company; therefore human resources must work hard in order to ensure everyone is working harmoniously for the benefit of the company.

Can ethics be tought?

The notion that ethics is a process of communication that gives way to new understandings and commitments to our social fife has been utilized herein to explore several questions. Should ethics teaching be via standalone modules or embedded in ethics discussion within curricula? Clearly both have merit yet we argue that authentic ethics discussions should pervade curriculum, be conceptualized and multifaceted. This attention to implementation and the notion of a possible ethics framework to structure student experiences was explored.

Key Words : Ethics, Teaching, Curriculum, Instruction Introduction

Ethics is often presented in classes by well meaning educators as a moral philosophy hat infuses critically assumed beliefs which are used to search for a good" human life. To most this is a classical understanding, however if we were to suggest ethics could be inherent in the duties humans owe to each other we would be touching upon a modern understanding. Educators and students confronted with these understandings may frequently face a predicament.

The educator may discover or currently know that they cannot teach ethics because of religious (spiritual) and cultural disagreements linked to what should be taught (curriculum). Many students draw upon background pre-understandings and are perplexed when confronted with ethical understandings of both peers and professors. To choose to not discuss ethics may be a safer path yet avoidance sends messages that this topic is a private matter and not suitable for discussion.

It is not a private matter yet avoiding discussion of ethics at all levels of education may only fuel mystification and/or ignorance. Discussing ethics should not be a private matter it should be within educational programs and rightly so, according to the many business school deans who rank ethics among the top five learning goals for their programs. Herein, we could consider ethics as, the general study of goodness and the general study of right action ... [which] constitute the main business of ethics.

Its principal substantive questions are what ends we ought, as fully rational human beings, to choose and pursue and what moral principles should govern our choices and pursuits. This study of right action could be viewed as a system of rules or principles rooted in the legal system however ethics can also be understood as a set of skills (acts) yet this understanding has limitations. Ultimately, we can view ethics as a process of life. Our argument is that we should discuss ethics in educational programs order to develop our understandings and enrich our lives.

Our present day society is reeling from ethical wrongdoing (crime) and challenges (bad decisions) reported in the media yet these ethically challenged people behind these scandals share a common experience, school. Perhaps, each person attended school until the law no longer required them to attend or until the person attending deemed they were ready to leave school. Many complete only secondary school and work their way into executive positions; some go Arthur and deeper in post-secondary stepping directly into professional roles.

The path we examine is of importance herein since the following words address and illuminate the teaching of ethics at the post-secondary level within the subject area of business over the past thirty years and we ask: Can ethics be taught? Secondly, if it is to be taught, than how should it be taught?

Curriculum: can ethics be taught?

Current research and the researchers behind this research were searching to discover the root causes of well reported ethical problems, dilemmas and challenges in all areas of society.

The investigation of unethical activity may lead back to a common experience point for the people within the scandal and that often is school. Herein we launch into a cursory inspection (due to page limitations) of the construction and delivery of curricula within business at the post-secondary level over the past thirty years. We illuminate the issues and discover if there is or was a linkage between what is, or is not taught, and the causes of unethical behavior which has inspired many researchers to take an even closer look at how texts are written and how professors teach within business courses.

Stark (1993) indicated that the unethical behavior is not the result of an absence of business ethics curriculum since, "over 500 business-ethics courses are currently taught on American campuses; fully 90% of the nation"s business schools now provide some kind of training in the area" (p. 38). Perhaps the problem lies not in the sheer number of ethics courses offered, but possibly the ethics courses are not being taken seriously.

Alternatively, it could be that professors, who hold questionable ethical philosophies, inadvertently rejecting this onto their students or it could be a dearth of real life" application in textbook case studies. The reason for our current predicament is puzzling. There exists an argument as to whether or not ethics should be taught in a post-secondary environment. Dodo (1997) explains that, "... The primary reason for discussing ethical issues in the business classroom is for the students to develop a process which considers the ethical implications of business decisions" (p. 96). Weber (1990) reviewed four studies and found that three of the four indicated a costive shift in ethical reasoning as a result of ethics education. Boyd (1981) indicated an increase in moral reasoning and Stead & Miller (1988) saw an increase to students" awareness and sensitivity towards social issues following ethics coursework. Burton, Johnston and Wilson (1991) also showed an increase of ethical awareness when compared to a control group within their research.

Even though published research has indicated that ethics education improves ethical attitude, there are others that have shown a negative relationship. Crag (1997) argued that ethics cannot be taught and a study conducted by Bishop (1992) further supported this assertion. Bishop (1992) concluded, that "another interesting criticism of ethics is that as long as we have laws that dictate what is permissible; we do not need courses in ethics" (p. 294). Pavement (1991) found that" ... There are serious flaws in the very foundation of the business ethics course - [and] ethical theory itself" (p. 92) because most of what is provided in business ethics texts does not involve ethical dilemmas and many instructors place too much emphasis on ethical situations dealing with policy. Crag (1997) and Ritter (2006) unidentified other groups, such as, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (CABS international) who have questioned this dilemma. Ritter (2006) suggested, "academics concerned about including ethical decommissioning strategies or other content in their classroom are hard pressed to find simple answers in either the theoretical or empirical research" (p. 153).

Perhaps this situation arises due to the fact that within Goldberg"s Theoretical Model on Moral Development, "character development has already occurred by the time an individual reaches college age". McCabe et al. (1994) supported this perspective while researching MBA students utilizing the Research Terminal Values Scale as a means to gauge the ethical predisposition of respondents; similar to what was done in the 1994 study conducted by Skull and Costa. This longitudinal study used the same sample of respondents over a two year period, yielding no significant changes in their ethical attitude.

Areola and Lurch (1983) also conducted a similar study where respondents were contacted years after administration of the original study, indicating a deterioration of ethical attitude.

Morals and ethics

Churchill (1992) believed that there was a misconception behind whether or not ethics can be trained because many who attempted to answer this question often confused the terms "ethics" and "morals" suggesting they shared a similar meaning. He defined morals as the behaviors of a human and ethics as a "... Systematic rational reflection upon that behavior" (p. 297).

Crag (1997) noted a similar distinction between moral standards and ethics when he stated: I do not want to teach moral standards; I want to teach a method of moral reasoning wrought complex ethical issues so that the students can apply the moral standards they have in his view, the primary function is to teach ethical systems of analysis, not moral standards of behavior. (p. 19) Being able to teach ethics within a program requires instructors to be able to grasp the process of moral reasoning to a point where this can be taught as a necessary route to arrive at ethically sound outcomes.

Instructors therefore need to have an understanding of the moral relationship with ethics, something that may take a great deal of experience with the unique curricula o fully grasp. Gunderson, Capitol and Raja (2008) supported the development and implementation of ethics curriculum suggesting "individuals should become more ethical as they increase their educational accomplishments because of increasing exposure in both receiving and administering ethics curricula" (p. 315). Hence, the ethics course advances along with the instructor"s understanding of the ethics curricula and related instructional theory.

Teaching ethics: goal establishment

Regardless of the method of instruction utilized to deliver business ethics; strategic Laos and objectives must be first identified within the curricula. Weber (1990) believed that ethics instruction must achieve some goal or set of goals before integrating it into the curricula. For instance, Belton and Sims (2005) highlighted several goals when teaching business ethics at the undergraduate level, stating,

  1. Assist student in the formation of their personal values and moral ideas,
  2. Introduce them to the broad range of moral problems facing their society and world,
  3. Provide them contact with important ethical theories and moral traditions
  4. Give them he opportunity to wrestle with problems of applied business ethics, whether personal or professional.

Bishop (1992) also reported a set of ethical curriculum objectives created by The College of Business. Similar to the objectives outlined by the Belton and Sims (2005) study, The College of Business wanted to help guide and plan the implementation of ethics curriculum. Belton and Sims (2005) suggested that it is also vitally important to know the backgrounds of each of the students.

Some cohorts of students might have a mixture of backgrounds, while in another cohort students might be composed of tauter students coming directly from industry for retraining. In order to achieve goals or objectives, approaches to curriculum might be based on the backgrounds of the students in the classroom. Belton and Sims (2005) explain: Students, especially those with little exposure to the larger world, often bring to the classroom values that they have adopted from their parents, church affiliations, peer groups, or similar persons or forces of influence.

The students in their thinking and actions simply reflect the values of their reference groups without having examined or evaluated them. P. 389) Business ethics education is about helping the student bring to consciousness their own set of values, but also, recognize how their values may conflict with the values of the business world (Belton and Sims, 2005). Ritter (2006) agreed and concluded that ethics education must be relevant to the student in order for it to transfer once they have graduated and are out working.

Coursework: the stand-alone ethics course

Offering business ethics as a stand-alone course or integrating it across the curriculum has sparked much debate. Henderson (1988) believed that by offering rouses solely devoted to business ethics " .. Sends a powerful message: A top priority at this school is for all students to know and follow the generally accepted rules of business" (p. 53). Weber (1990) identified, in a national survey of graduate and undergraduate students, that fifty three percent of students prefer to have a separate course in ethics.

More recently, the CABS"s Ethics Education Task Force (2004) put forward this position: Business schools must encourage students to develop a deep understanding of the myriad challenges surrounding corporate responsibility and corporate governance; revive them with tools for recognizing and responding to ethical issues, both personally and organizationally; and engage them at an individual level through analyses of both positive and negative examples of everyday conduct in business (p. 9).

What is certain is that ethical dilemmas occur, and within a context that is not always reproducible in coursework. Understanding and applying rules is but one half of the equation within an ethical dilemma because "the typical approach to ethical dilemmas is a two-step process: we locate a rule, and then we assume or Judge that it applies to our situation". It is the ability to Judge or evaluate, which is a higher order thinking skill, which challenges us to do the right thing" within a situation.

Embedding ethics curriculum

Researchers such as Ritter (2006); Ukuleles (1988) and Dodo (1997) argue that stand- alone courses are disconnected from real-world application and that ethics must be integrated throughout the curriculum. Wynn and Meager (1989) conducted a study only to discover no significant changes in ethical decision making took place as a result of taking a course in ethics. Saul (1981) suggested that in order for business ethics to succeed, ethical considerations must be woven into every aspect of the "decision making repertoire as economic ones" (p. 273).

Belton and Sims (2005) further supports this by stating "ethics is embedded in all business decision-making. A given decision may be described as marketing, production, or financial decision, but ethical dimensions are intertwined in the decision" (p. 381). Even if ethical decision making is integrated into business curriculum, Sims (2002) argued that the success of this approach would materialize only if the entire faculty and administration were in agreement. Alternatively, Stephens and Stephens, (2008) concluded: Ethics courses may be resulting in better ethical decision making.

Perhaps alerting students to ethical violations is making them more aware of their decisions in the workplace. The results indicate that requiring an ethics course does make an immediate (albeit perhaps short term) difference in ethical decision making or in assessing potential ethical/unethical behavior. (p. 54) The variety of opinion is easy to find within the last few years hence the problematic nature of our question Should we (can we) teach ethics in classes?

If yes, then how must it be done to achieve desired outcomes?

Effective implementation

Ritter makes mention in her 2006 study that "... Most theorists suggest that given the proper implementation, an ethics curriculum can be designed for effective learning" (p. 154). A study conducted by David, Anderson and Lawrence (1990) reported that only 24% of the respondents indicated that ethical issues were emphasized throughout their program.

Surprisingly this study concluded, Fully 92% of respondents indicated they never attended a business ethics seminar in college; 80% never had a course in business ethics; 92% never wrote a business ethics term paper; 75% never heard a faculty lecture on ethics; and 56% never participated in a case study with ethics issues. (p. 29) The results of this study can be linked to a current study that concluded "professors are ill prepared or uncertain about how best to teach accounting ethics".

Alternatively, perhaps, it is not that ethics cannot be taught, but rather, how ethics education is delivered which might be the reason for poor ethical attitude amongst students and recent graduates. Ritter (2006) identified a multitude of perspectives throughout the iterate, and determined three common questions surfaced frequently which asked: "how [should we] teach ethics in business school, what to teach, and even if [we should] teach it at all" (p. 153). Burton et al. (1991) indicated that students preferred discussing ethical business scenarios instead of a lecture that is philosophical in nature.

Researchers Pizzicato and Evil (1996) discovered that only 10% of the students preferred lectures, and yet this approach had been used 68% of the time. Students did, however, express their preference for class discussions when learning about business ethics. More recently, Pettifog, Stay and Opaque (2000) conducted two-day workshops on ethics in psychology and after the workshop, the different teaching approaches used throughout (lectures, questions and answers, group discussions, videotapes, recommended readings, problem-solving, essays and exams) were rated by the participants.

Ethical discussions for the workshop were divided into several categories: philosophy and theories of ethics, codes of ethics and guidelines, ethical decision-making, ethical sensitivity, legal issues, disciplinary issues and selfsameness. Preferred teaching approaches varied depending on the topic.

For example, when discussing philosophy and theories of ethics, respondents preferred lecturing and answering questions, whereas, students preferred discussing vignettes when reviewing codes of ethics, ethical dilemma decision making and sensitivity to ethical issues.

When learning about legal aspects of ethics and disciplinary matters, respondents preferred video (visual). Pettifog et al. (2000) identified a unanimous rejection of the traditional approaches to learning: writing essays and studying for exams, but it was noted that essays or exams were not used throughout the workshops. Most intriguing, Pettifog et al. 2000) explained that the most effective teaching approach, not only depends on the student"s learning styles, but also depends on what is being taught (content). Preceding this research, Burton et al. (1991) also supported these findings, indicating a strong preference for in-class discussions of hypothetical scenarios versus philosophical lectures on ethics. This 1991 study also indicated that gender and teaching method did not produce any results of significance (Burton et al. ). Earlier research conducted by Webber (1990) indicated that 50% percent of participant students felt as though ethics was not tresses enough and 53% felt as though a separate ethics course should be offered.

Normative theory: a framework

Bishop (1992) defined a philosophically-oriented approach to ethics as ". Rigorous in terms of theory, logical foundations, and abstract conceptualizations of business ethics problems" (p. 293). Later in the decade Dodo (1997) investigated students at a particular school who were required to complete an undergraduate degree with courses in philosophy and religion. It was these philosophy courses where utilitarian theories, deontological theories, theories of Justice and theories of rights were explored. The ethics content was infused in the curricula and yet the courses lacked practical application depending predominately on theory.

This imperfection within curriculum is commonplace and can be traced back to academic valuing of theory within course content over authentic societal issues, problems and dilemmas. Bringing the daily news and event s into the classroom is a start but threading this authentic content into curricula is a goal however; is this proper way to teach ethics? It may be a popular more with students but professors may not value this approach. Doing what is right and acting within a context calls upon each person"s understanding and perception, it is "not simply a matter of following rules or calculating consequences.

It is a matter of discerning which rule are called into play in a situation ". Your values, morals and philosophical orientation among other variables come into play as your very perception filters the events. This fact can change the manner in which we teach a course in ethics as we need to discuss how one can make a distinction from what is important to that which is less so. 1. Issues: Students and Curricula Pavement (1991) contended, "what may be clear to the trained philosopher is not at all clear to the student.

Philosophers have had extensive training in logical analysis and argumentation" (Pavement, 1991, p. 387). In many instances, students who register for an ethics class, are usually at the very introductory stages of learning philosophy and are not able to apply these abstract and sometimes contradicting philosophies to business scenarios. Pavement (1991) goes on to say "... The texts" lack of specificity of method for applying theory, ND the lack of resolution in dealing with competing theories, is compounded by the professor teaching the course" (p. 387).

For instance, even the Normative values framework is quite expansive and based upon several theoretical frameworks, for example: Egoism (hedonistic or otherwise), consequentialness utilitarian and non-, act or rule utilitarianism, moral sense theories, a veritable menagerie of deontological theories of varying stringiness, constitutionalism, natural law theories, etc. , are all in hot contention for the exclusive franchise on the Good and the Right. To expect a student entering an ethics course to have a grasp of these theoretical frameworks seems somewhat unfair to the student.

It now becomes a challenge to identify a starting point in any ethics course. We need to know from the onset of the course, the level of preparedness of each student. Failing this, the course could literally miss its mark as the content could be too advanced. Historically researchers such as Farman (1990) explained that using a principle- based approach to learning ethics, assumes students are functioning at Goldberg"s autonomous stage, but it was through Farman"s experience she concluded that most dents have difficulties breaking free from ethical relativism.

Interestingly, Pavement (1991) analyzed two hundred syllabi and was able to identify an examination question that created confusion and influenced students to think in a relativistic or subjective way. 48 Pavement (1991) stated, "this typical question asks the student to analyze and discuss a particular business situation using "either" utilitarian or deontological theory ... The professor thinks that the use of either one is K" (p. 388).

Farman (1990) added that poor ethical attitude "cannot be remedied in the course of a ten-week ethics lass; a reflection of my failure as a teacher; or, more significantly, a measure of the impracticality of teaching ethics in this way? ' (p. 32). Dodo (1997) explained that philosophy courses are usually offered in a department separate from the business department. These courses offer very little practical application that usually results in a weak transfer of ethical reasoning in a business context (Dodo, 1997).

Offering a course from within the business department provides students with an opportunity to consider ethical decision making as it relates to everyday business activities. Business ethics provides a link from what is learnt in a philosophy course to what students are faced with once they get out into the work world. Dodo (1997) explains that there must be cooperation between the philosophy department and the business department to ensure students receive a balance between theoretical reasoning and their application into today"s world.

Robertson (1993) defined normative research as " .. The values, norms, or rules of conduct which govern ethical behavior and which are presented as an ideal" and argued that much of the research in business ethics lacked validity because searchers did not incorporate these theories into their studies" (p. 586). Some studies in the area of business ethics are grounded in normative theory while others are not. For example, Warner (1988) conducted a study on the rights of individuals and responsibilities of shareholders during a merger and acquisition.

Ethical Dilemma Argumentative Essay

Ethical Dilemma (Author’s name) (Institutional Affiliation) Abstract This research paper seeks to resolve a particular case of an ethical dilemma. This has been necessitated by the fact that ethical dilemmas are a recurrent part of life. Moreover, ethical dilemmas have become a key point of argument in the field of ethics and interestingly, philosophy as well (Garsten & Hernes, 2009). As an inividual, I find myself facing moral dilemma situation quite frequently which makes the exploration of this subject a fascinating intrigue.

This exhaustive research thus attempts to integrate all the possible actions that can be undertaken to lead towards the understanding of ethical dilemma. Methodologies used to accomplish this include the three stage ethical dilemma solving process that duly applies two main approaches. These approaches are consequentialist and deontological which have been widely applied to give step by step details on how to handle the given ethical dilemma. The article dissects on subsequent decision making after thorough strive to balance between what is morally acceptable within a person’s surroundings and self interests entrenched in a human being.

A thorough discussion on the particular viewpoints of ethical dilemma has unearthed the common result of individuals getting torn between self morals and societal expectations.. Finally, the research concludes that there is a need to evaluate decisions based on viewpoints arising from a given instance of an ethical dilemma. Introduction Ethical dilemmas, also referred to as moral dilemmas, have been a recurring problem for ethical practitioners and theorists as far back as time immemorial.

An ethical dilemma is a situation whereby self moral obligations and social ethical precepts conflict in such a way that any possible solution to the dilemma is not tolerable morally. Better yet, an ethical dilemma is a scenario whereby guiding ethical principles, say written rules or religious books, cannot dictate which course of action is morally right or wrong. An ethical dilemma is also regarded to as an ethical paradox since in the field of moral philosophy, paradox usually has a pivotal role in arguments, debates and discussions.

Given such a case, personal ethics and societal guidelines can give no satisfactory result for the individual with the responsibility of choosing. Ethical dilemmas have an assumption that the chooser will stick to societal norms, such as religious teachings or codes of law, thus making the decision ethically impossible. In fight-or-flight response, any animal will react only in its immediate bodily self-interests when faced with perceived bodily harm with a limited ability to come up with other alternatives. However, unlike animals, people have complex social relationships that are hard to ignore (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2010).

These relationships often lead to conflicts among individuals. Such conflicts may be settled by another approach that has strong social foundation. That is why societies instituted criminal justice systems along with ethical traditions and religious principles to mitigate such deep conflicts. Discussion For example, you have a best friend who has confessed a terrible secret to you. At the moment the individual is married to a wife with two children. He has a loving family, a decent life and is a good citizen. However 14 years earlier he had killed a woman.

He has also confessed to you that a homeless person was accused of the murder: but died before his trial and punishment. Nothing good can come from this man’s confession. His family will suffer and no one is at risk of being mistaken as the murderer. What would you advise him to do? In this situation, the person in question is a good friend. This means that individual ethics will dictate that so as to safeguard his freedom; the secret should continue to be a closely guarded affair not to be revealed to any other person. This effectively translates to hiding his guilt as well.

On the other hand, societal expectations based on religion or laid down laws, demand that the matter is grave and thus the need for informing law enforcement agencies so that relevant action can be taken. This bodes well with the fact no one is above the law, be they a dear friend or otherwise. Here, the dilemma is between the two morals (personal ethics and societal guidelines) whereby whichever decision is to be undertaken will have intolerable repercussions. Of worth noting is the fact that these consequences, be they positive or negative, will have either a ong term or short run impact; especially where best friends are involved like in this case. Solving ethical dilemmas is a delicate balancing act between serving personal vested interests and meeting social expectations. The key goal when solving these moral paradoxes should be the intention of achieving greater good over lesser evil, simply meaning gaining greater good out of any given case. Ideally, ethical systems or mechanisms should allow for tradeoffs or priorities of decisions i. e. the greater good is more desirable even though the action undertaken is morally wrong.

Generally, there are two main approaches used by ethical philosophers in troubleshooting ethical dilemmas: namely the consequentalist approach and the deontological approach. The first approach deals with the resulting consequences of actions taken while the other is concerned with the practical actions themselves. The former school of thought simply argues ‘no harm, no foul’ i. e. if no harm is done then no wrong is committed (Harding, 2010). The latter insists that some actions are simply wrong. Philosophers have debated the relative advantages of these approaches for ages.

However, for the sole purpose of obtaining help on solving ethical dilemmas, we take a look at the above mentioned approaches as the most effective strategies for analyzing and resolving problems with moral paradoxes. Having said that, we revert to our case where we attempt to explain it in easy to understand step by step arguments. Step One - Analyze the Consequences of Action Since this friend broke the law by murdering some woman 14 years ago, the law was broken hence the assumption of obedience or full compliance with the law (Pollock, 2012).

You should consider the outcome of the action of reporting the incident to the authorities, both positive and negative. First you should evaluate on the beneficiary of this action. Who will it help? The notable beneficiaries of you reporting to the police will be the killed woman and the dead homeless person who ought to get some justice. It is worth noting this justice will do them no good as they are both deceased. Other beneficiaries could be social members but this is also at the risk of severing links with your close friend and other relations.

Next in line you need to evaluate as to whom this move will hurt the most. This best friend will face jail time, lose his family which is dependent on him and experience stigma through social repulsion since he will be considered a criminal while the relationship between the two of you will be severely dented meaning you also lose him as a friend. A small quantity of ‘high quality’ good can override a bigger amount of ‘lower quality’ good (Garber, 2008). A high quality good is like having good health while a lower quality good can be like having the latest flashy car.

By the same token, a little quantity of ‘high quality’ harm e. g. the pain produced if you betray someone’s trust on a very critical issue can outweigh a larger amount of ‘lower quality’ pain. With this in mind, we can only conclude that the friend has more to lose than any gain derived from reporting to law enforcement agencies. Another crucial element to consider is both the long-term and short-term repercussions of your intended action. This is more so relevant due to the fact the consequences may linger long enough yet the individuals in question are close friends.

Principles like integrity, equity, respect for people’s rights and dignity ought to be weighed while assessing your next course of action. This entire step applies the consequentalist approach. Step Two - Analyze the Actions In this step, it is important to completely ignore consequences of actions and focus exclusively on the actions themselves. Assess how your actions compare or contrast with moral principles like integrity, respecting others rights, equity, respecting people’s dignity, fairness, and recognizing the susceptibility of individuals.

Do the actions that you consider taking cross the line, in terms of acceptable decency to an important ethical principle? If there is any contradiction between the principles or between the rights of different individuals involved, then there should be a way to view one principle more overly significant than the other. In this step we apply the deontological approach. Step Three – Decision Making This step involves merging both parts of your earlier two steps analyzed which helps to make an informed decision.

Now that you know your values and you have a model with which to apply them; the remaining piece is to follow a systematic process to resolve the moral dilemma on the basis of which of your options produces the best combination of maximum benefits and least harm. After making this crucial decision, there is a need to act on your decision and accept responsibility for it. You should be ready to defend the choice of action you have taken to not only yourself but others who are concerned. You are solely responsible for this action. Conclusion

It goes without saying that ethical dilemmas are a part of our everyday lives and so the need to constantly have a way of diffusing them. How to best handle difficult moral and ethical options is never easy especially when any choice deviates from the societal norms and ethical standards by which we have governed our whole lives. But since the underlying premise remains unchanged regardless of the specifics, the three-step approach proves effective not only to us but even to the early philosophers who first posed ethical dilemma questions.

References Garber, P. R. (2008). The Ethical Dilemma. Harvard: Amherst. Garsten, C. , & Hernes, T. (2009). Ethical Dilemmas in Management. New York: Routledge. Harding, C. G. (2010). Moral dilemmas and ethical reasoning. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. Pollock, J. M. (2012). Ethical Dilemmas and Decisions in Criminal Justice. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Zastrow, C. , & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2010). Understanding Human Behavior and the Social Environment. Belmont, California: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning.

The Importance of Ethics Committees

Health care institutions operate to uphold the rights and well-being of patients. In practicing patient care, members of health care organizations face actions and decisions that should be aligned with ethical issues maintained by health care facilities, such as hospitals, to look after the best interests of patients. To oversee the ethical issues that health care facilities should observe consistently, establishing ethics committees is necessary.

In order to determine the importance of ethics committees in the field of health care and medicine, it is relevant to go over the history of the establishment of ethics committees, the varied and significant roles played by ethics committees in health care and medicine, the principles upheld by ethics committees, and the magnitude of ethics committees in health care facilities and the field of medicine. Ethical issues frame health care and the field of medicine.

Health care ethics is primarily based on principled obligations that health care and medicine should provide for human beings, as well as the binding obligations to constitutional laws. Health care ethics ensure that health care policies, services, programs, and practices are in line with moral obligations to human beings and political obligations to the state, while keeping in mind the sole purpose of health care and medicine – to improve the quality of life.

With the unending and increasing issues and choices that members of health care organizations and the field of medicine must face and decide on each day, there is a need to put up ethical standards and norms to abide by to avoid inconsistencies, conflicts, and disagreements. The requirement for ethics committees was formalized in 1992 by the Joint Commission (O’Reilly, 2008). Ethics committees are composed of various members of health care institutions. Members of ethics committees include “physicians, nurses, psychologists, lawyers, administrators and supervisors, families, and the community” (Fremgen, 2005).

Ethics committees are in charge of overseeing practices and operations within health care facilities regarding the services provided for patient care. Primarily, ethics committees in contributing or improving health care policies employed by facilities by thorough analysis and research and the formulation of ethical procedures or guidelines that the health care facility and all its members must observe at all times. These procedures or guidelines are patient-centered – one which puts forth the best interest of the patient.

Ethics committees uphold ethical health care principles and practices by intervening in conflicts within the health care facility, especially when it comes to decision-making and ethical issues. The ethics committee reexamines a particular situation and arrives at a counsel or a suggestion as to how the parties involved will go about solving the problem. The result of the ethics committee’s reexamination is based on ethical laws and principles endorsed by the state and the health care facility to put the patient’s concerns above all.

In some instances, the ethics committee also reviews the quality and kind of health care services received by the patient in order to determine whether it was based on guiding ethical principles or not. (Fremgen, 2005) Ethics committees are influential in determining the fairness, reliability, morality, and integrity of health care facilities. It serves as a quality control committee, keeping health care services, practices, and operations in check, in order to make sure that they comply with ethical principles related to health care and medicine.

Through ethics committees, health care facilities are able to sustain a mission, vision, goals, and objectives that are within the limits of what is ethical for health care facilities to provide. This ensures that the quality of health care services provided to patients meet their needs, demands, and expectations and it defends what is morally upright in relation to patient care. Ethics committees keep professionalism in the work place in check, and it guides major ethical choices and decisions in the field of health care and medicine.

With the realization of the significant roles and responsibilities that ethics committees carry out, it is therefore of great importance to health care facilities or organizations to establish an ethics committee that will serve as a consultant or a guide in putting health care practices and operations in line with ethical laws and principles. It does not only add value or integrity to health care facilities, but it also ensures that patient care is provided for, qualitatively and ethically.

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