Ethical Dilemma




Anethical dilemma exists in the presence of three conditions. The firstcondition involves a situation where an individual or an agent facesa situation where they have to select the best course of action. Thedecision is guided by first, the morals of the individual thatincluded the personal values. Second, they apply ethics to choose thebest course of action. The first condition makes it uncomfortablesince the agent cannot assume the current situation. Consequently,the agent is forced to evaluate the various courses of actionsavailable to solve the situation that leads to condition number two(Robison, &amp Reeser, 2002).

Inthe second condition, the agent seeks the various alternativesavailable. For a dilemma to occur there must be a set of variousavailable courses of action that make the agent uncomfortable tochoose. Without conflicting options, the situation fails to be adilemma anymore. For example, in a case where a student on internshipis required to be under the care of a specialized instructor, thestudent has no choice but to be constantly under the supervisor.Since the student has no choice, the situation fails to be a dilemma(Robison, &amp Reeser, 2002).

Thethird condition entails compromise. For the agent to make a decision,they evaluate the various courses of action in terms of theirrepercussions. Consequently, the agent chooses to face somerepercussions and avoid others as are presented with the variousoptions. Decision making consequently makes the agent to attain acompromise position. They submit their willingness to face thevarious repercussions from not choosing one option in pursuit ofbenefits from their choice (Robison, &amp Reeser, 2002).

Accordingto Dolgoff, Lowenberg, and Harrington, (2009), ethical dilemmas occurin one of the two mutually exclusive dimensions- personal andprofessional. The personal dimensions entail morals and values whileEthics, laws, and policies are professional. In the professionaldimension, ethics is a set of standards for use by members of a givenprofession such as nursing, accounting, and banking. They provideguidance on how to make correct judgments about situations and arriveat ethical solutions in the profession. They rely on a logicalcriterion with a cognitive process of decision-making. Laws andpolicies are general guidelines that override the values, morals andethics as a common guide. They are more complex and detailed. Theyare considered to be supreme since they present an integration ofmorals values and ethics, however, in a communal sense as opposed toan individual or a group of people (Pollock, 2013).

Inthe personal dimension, values describe the ideas viewed as rationalby humans they possess a high prize and priority. They are uniqueto individuals. Valuing something means that someone holds it dearand feels it is worth (Pollock, 2013). Values are mostly ideas thatpeople aspire to achieve such as justice, honesty, and equality.Morals are codes of conduct that dictate behavior. They are used tomaintain the relationships with others (Dolgoff, Lowenberg, &ampHarrington, 2009).

Theethical dilemmas result from a condition in one dimension or theother but not both. The choice of one dimension does not affect theoutcome in the other dimension. For example, the conflict betweenpersonal values and ethics does not constitute a dilemma. Ethicsbelongs to a professional body. The moment an individual joins aprofessional body, they are required to ascribe to the various lawsand regulation behind the body. Similar is the case with policies andlaws (Dolgoff, Lowenberg, &amp Harrington, 2009).


Dolgoff,R., Lowenberg, F. M., &amp Harrington, D. (2009). Ethicaldecisions for social work practice(8thed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Pollock,J. (2013). Ethicaldilemmas and decisions in criminal justice (8thed).Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Robison,W., &amp Reeser, L. C. (2002). Ethicaldecision making for social workers.New York, NY: Allyn &amp Bacon.