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Сase Study of Ethical Dilemma

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    To steal, one takes property that does not belong to them, without permission, particularly when the property is taken secretly or by force (steal, n.d.). By placing the items in her backpack, and removing the items from the facility without authorization, Toni’s actions undoubtedly fit the definition of stealing. This is obvious unethical behavior, and Lisa has an ethical obligation to report Toni’s actions. By reporting the act, Lisa is following through with the value system socially accepted by the bigger portion of society (Moran, Harris & Moran, 2007). “You shall not steal,” (Exodus 20:15, NIV). Not only is this one of the Ten Commandments from the Bible, it is also a law that is punishable.

    This commandment provides a blueprint of norms and behaviors that are morally and ethically acceptable, in nearly every culture (Adeney, 1995, p. 91-92). This blueprint is laid out in the legal principles that govern our daily actions, and generally in the cultural guidelines taught from childhood. So, not only are Toni’s actions unethical, but they are also illegal, giving Lisa even more assurance that a decision to report the theft is simply the right thing to do. Be not witness against thy neighbor without cause, and deceive not with thy lips,” (“The Bible Promise Book.”, 1986, p. 101). Lisa has a just cause to report Toni’s unethical deeds. The hospital faces a financial loss, whether significant or not, from Toni’s theft. Over time, this loss could result in higher costs for patients. In this instance, following through with this ethical obligation, Lisa will help the hospital, potentially assist in controlling expenses, and ultimately enlighten Toni on the importance of honesty and integrity.

    One major point that should be made is: If others find out she turned Toni in, Lisa can forever be labeled a “snitch,” in her high school, the hospital, or other walks of life. This does not sound like a major problem, but this could be a large source of stress and discontentment for Lisa. Reporting Toni will require moral and ethical strength, and the courage to face any angry bystanders. Sometimes choosing the right path is not the easiest route to be taken. However important and ethical Lisa’s intentions are the perceptions of others have an impact, as well (Moran, Harris & Moran, 2007). “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength” (“The Bible Promise Book.”, 1986, p. 27). This thought reigns true in the ethical dilemma presented between Lisa and Toni. Lisa must have the courage to stand up for what is right.

    Not only does Lisa have an ethical obligation to the hospital to report the conduct of Toni, but Lisa has an obligation to herself. Telling on another person can be a very difficult task to complete. This is especially true in a situation where the wrongdoer and the whistle-blower must meet again, such as at school. When an individual truly cares, that person will have an obligation to oppose the acts and behaviors of others that are found oppressing (Adeney, 1995, p. 59-60). Lisa will live with the guilt and weight of Toni’s wrongdoing, if she takes no corrective action. Lisa may not know why she has a duty to report Toni, but doing so will add to her values and ethics, all a part of her cultural experiences (Adeney, 1995, p. 61-63). Reporting the theft of supplies will not only test Lisa’s values, but will enlighten Toni on the cultural upbringing of Lisa. Although Toni may not be happy with Lisa, Adney states, “A friend of God experiences God’s forgiveness and is enabled to forgive” (1995, p. 77).

    While the unethical act Toni has committed may seem like a big ordeal when reported, over time, both ladies will be able to forgive and move on, leaning on Christian faith. The decision to report Toni’s theft was made almost immediately. Since stealing is obviously wrong, it was not a question whether or not Lisa should report Toni. As the ethical dilemma was researched further, the decision to report Toni was made even clearer. The research simply strengthened the position. Taking something without permission is not right, and the best decision in that type of situation is to stand up for what is right, or report the unethical act.

    Adeney, B. T. (1995). Knowledge, Friendship and Wisdom. In Strange Virtues: Ethics in a Multicultural World. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. (1986). Courage. In The Bible Promise Book. (p. 27). Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing Inc. Moran, R. T., Harris, P. R., & Moran, S. V. (2007).
    Managing cultural differences, global leadership strategies for the 21st century. (7th ed.). Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann. steal. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Retrieved August 27, 2012, from website:

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