Issue of Ethics and Ethical Dilemma

Issue of Ethics

In simpler terms ethics is a set of customary practices and principles that incorporate some kind of normative code to follow (Kidder, 2003). Being ethical then means adhering to that code. Ethical dilemma or issues means that there a conflict between parties exist and one individual benefit often at the expense of the other party. Ethical dilemma can also result from the violation of moral rules or when conflict exists between the moral rules. An example of ethical dilemma is when an individual is torn between customary practices and principles such as when the wife of your best friend who have a mistress raises question of fidelity against him (Spinoza de, 2004). What would be your response? Keeping your promise and loyalty along with being honest becomes at stake. What can be considered as an ethical dilemma is not necessarily considered so in another culture. What is regarded as ethical dilemma in a certain cultures depends on the perceptions of the individuals in that community i.e. what the community consider to be good or evil (Buchanan, 2003). In certain cultures especially polygamous societies having a mistress may not be regarded as being immoral but in others such as in England and United States it would be immoral.

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Values code is taken as principles through which one makes decisions about what is right or wrong. They also inform an individual about what is most important and those which are least important. On the other hand morals have bigger social element and broad acceptance as compared with values. Individuals judge other people strongly basing on morals than values (Kidder, 2003). A person can be described as moral but there is no word that describes him or her for following values.

On the other hand professional ethics define ethics as set of roles which are explicitly followed by a group of people in a given society. Ethics are thus inherently defined and adopted while morals are externally imposed on other people (D’Andrea, 2006). If someone is accused of being unethical, then it means that the person is unprofessional and it can be taken as an insult. If there is a conflict between values, morals and ethics, then they have them hidden from themselves and the three can be used as a benchmark. Leaders exhibit values and ethics in their style and actions. Deficiency of trust among leaders is common in working environment. It is possible that leaders do not identify their values in their work place (Spinoza de, 2004). Identifying and sharing values create trust among the leaders and employees. An organization with code of conduct for the leaders and leadership expectations cannot be successful if leaders neglect their published code. When values get shared by all members in an organization, they become vital tools for judgments, choosing among activities and even the assessment of contemplated actions (D’Andrea, 2006).

Values are disrupted when there is a conflict between stated and operating values and it becomes difficult to come up with what is acceptable. The principles by which the society functions do not usually tally with the principles stated. Those who are in power may secretly allow use of force to contain debate in order to remain in power (Muir, 1990). Group members will within a short time learn, the values in operation meaning that they wouldn’t survive for long. The society will not only suffer from doing work ineffectively but also from cynicism of its members who have reasons for doubting the wisdom of their leaders. This means that we have some disconnects and these disconnects creates hurdles in the society. However, the critical role of values always remains in the societies (Buchanan A. 2003). They create an idealized set of criteria for evaluation of option and deciding what is appropriate with long experience. This brings us to a point that behaving ethically is to act in a way that is consistent with what is generally considered moral. Values will give the difference between what is right and what is wrong and that is what is meant by ethics (Spinoza de, 2004). To act ethically is to behave in a way that tallies with what is right or wrong. The critical question is that what is meant by a thing or act being regarded as right or wrong.  The first place to look is the society. Every society usually has a consideration of what is right or wrong. Society does not only define the behavior of its members but also define the societal core values. To know what is considered right or wrong there are organization norms which are uninstalled roles that govern the behavior of group members (Kidder, 2003). They often have greater influence on what is right or wrong as it is regarded by group members compared with formal roles and regulations. Norms are important in the field of ethics since they may encourage certain behavior to be considered right yet its not keeping with organization stated values. When we have a disconnection between stated and operating norms it is difficult to determine what is light (Buchanan, 2003).

For example an organization may posses stated values that provide treatment of everyone with decorum, but the norms have given permission and encourage patterns of sexual harassment. Such organizations may be a ware that such behavior is wrong but yet condoning it (Kidder, 2003).There are some basics of actions that are expected from all the individuals if the society as a whole is for the goodwill of its members. With public officials there is a reason why they should adhere to the given codes without failing because they have power and hence are likely to violate these codes easily. If the leaders violate the given code of ethics they form a negative example (Muir, 1990).

Development of a person as an ethical individual involves series of steps. The influence of the family community and school plays a crucial role in individuals’ value. Generally the organization usually deals with people whose value base has been established. This means that ethical organizations are those societies which are unfortunate and brings in unethical people i.e. people who do not respect the laid down values in the society. While the inherent values of an individual are important society plays a pivotal role in formulating individuals’ behavior and can have negative impacts on the influence on their values (D’Andrea, 2006).

A person has to posses’ three qualities so as to make ethical decisions. One is the ability to decipher ethical impacts of decisions. Secondly is the ability to look at the alternatives, deciding what is right in a particular situation. Third is the ability to deal with uncertainty, making decision on the information valuable.

Society members have only three choices to go by when confronted with unethical behavior i.e. loyalty, voice or exit. Exit is the most direct response i.e. if you can’t put up with behavior that does not go by your own ethical standards just leaves it. This is not a direct response but more to that a final one meaning that personal and society consequences must be taken into consideration (D’Andrea, 2006).

The next one is voice which means expressing discomfort with opposition seen in unethical behavior. The question is to whom do you give your objections? The recipient of your objections is your supervisor. But a big problem arises if your supervisor condones or accepts the code of behavior. Ultimately this will bring your loyalty into question. Exit and voice can be considered. The two can label you as an employee who quits before he/she gets fired. Exit combine with voice is most effective when taken by senior employee because with low ladder employee it will often result in registration (Britannica, 1997).

The final response involves royalty with which is the alternative of exit the individual will remain intact and tries to change the organization from within. Loyalty hence suppress exit and discourages public voice, since loyalty towards an organization means solving problems avoiding public embarrassment or damage (Britannica, 1997).

            Evaluative is the meaning of critical thinking. Critical thinking never meant to criticize or to have a negative mind of something but it rather refers to a condition whereby one tends to apply what is referred to as evaluative thinking. This can mean to criticize or to recommend some issues. Considering the facts and figures evaluative thinking can result to both positive and negative opinions (Singer, 1993).

Two definitions are enough to define what critical and creative thinking is and one is to reason about what to believe or what one is going to do and the second one is making of reasonable judgments. Overall we can say that critical thinking is the criteria through which we can judge something. The more the student learn to think critically the more they become efficient in scientific and even historical thinking (Kidder, 2003). They thus develop the capabilities and values which are important in their day to day lives. In our point of view critical thinking can be gathering, applying, analyzing and even synthesizing information gathered while considering the source whether it obtained from through experience or communication. To have a complete thinking on something we must apply our thinking on all factors, using different angles and different aspects (Buchanan, 2003).

In conclusion there are those factors which affect thinking when communicating; during our conversation we never wonder how our mind work and what really occurs in our mind. We always have the thoughts of impressing others in all our meetings but we never think what is behind staying with them for long hours (Buchanan, 2003). The best way to become a positive thinker is to never think negative but if there is something making you feel bad about yourself, search for that bad thing. This tends to involve soul searching oneself so as to be able to know what is right and what wrong about the feelings you have (Buchanan, 2003).


Britannica Encyclopedia (1997): The new Encyclopedia Britannica; ISBN 0852296339,

Encyclopedia Britannica.

Buchanan, A. (2003): Readings in virtual Research Ethics: Issues and controversies; ISBN 1591402891, Information Science.

D’Andrea T (2006): Tradition, Rationality, and Virtue: The Thought of Alasdair Macintyre; ISBN 0754651126, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Kidder M (2003): How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living, ISBN 0688175902, Harper Collins.

Muir, J (1990): Environmental Ethics; University of Georgia

Spinoza de, B (2004): The Ethics: ISBN 1419161334, Kessinger Publishing.

Singer, P (1993): Practical Ethics: ISBN 052143971X, Cambridge University Press.


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