How to Solve an Ethical Dilemma?

The biggest challenge of an ethical dilemma is that it does not offer an obvious solution that would comply with ethics al norms. 

The following approaches to solve an ethical dilemma were deduced:

  • Refute the paradox (dilemma): The situation must be carefully analyzed. In some cases, the existence of the dilemma can be logically refuted.
  • Value theory approach: Choose the alternative that offers the greater good or the lesser evil.
  • Find alternative solutions: In some cases, the problem can be reconsidered, and new alternative solutions may arise.

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Ethical Dilemma - Definition, How to Solve, and Examples

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  • Ethical dilemmas frequently occur in the workplace. Some companies and professional organizations adhere to their own codes of conduct and ethical standards. Violation of the standards may lead to disciplinary sanctions.
  • Almost every aspect of business can become a possible ground for ethical dilemmas. It may include relationships with co-workers, management, clients, and business partners.
  • In order to solve ethical problems, companies and organizations should develop strict ethical standards for their employees. Every company must demonstrate its concerns regarding the ethical norms within the organization. In addition, companies may provide ethical training for their employees.

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An ethical dilemma (ethical paradox or moral dilemma) is a problem in the decision-making process between two possible options, neither of which is absolutely acceptable from an ethical perspective.

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Typically, the law tells us what we are prohibited from doing and what we are required to do. It is said that the law sets minimum standards of behavior while ethics sets maximum standards.

Ethics provides us with guides on what is the right thing to do in all aspects of life, while the law generally provides more specific rules so that societies and their institutions can be maintained. Ethics engages our thinking and also our feelings, including those of disgust and guilt.

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Why ethics and law are not the same thing

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Stages of moral development

Lawrence Kohlberg questioned why children differed in their ethical judgements. They think more in terms of black and white, or egocentric, or rational.

In an experiment, Kohlberg gave children open-ended questions to explain their answers. From this, he identified three stages of moral development:

  • Pre-conventional stage. This ego-centric stage seeks pleasure and wants to avoid pain. "Good" is defined as whatever is beneficial to oneself, and "bad" is anything that will cause punishment.
  • Conventional stage. A sense of social belonging marks this stage. Approval is seen as a reward, and behaviour is adjusted to please others. The desire to fit in is motivating good behaviour.
  • Post-conventional stage. There is more self-reflection and moral reasoning. Principled behaviour is more important than blind obedience.

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How morally developed are you?

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At its simplest, ethics is a system of moral principles. They affect how people make decisions and lead their lives.

Ethics is concerned with what is good for individuals and society and is also described as moral philosophy.

The term is derived from the Greek word ethos which can mean custom, habit, character or disposition.

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Ethics - Introduction to ethics: Ethics: a general introduction

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