Ethical dilemmas discussion questions


Ethical dilemmas are situations that involve conflicting moral or ethical choices. To truly meet the criteria for an ethical dilemma, there must first be a choice. If applicable laws say that client records must be kept in a password-protected location on your computer, there is no choice or moral decision involved. The action needed is very clear cut. Secondly, in order to be an ethical dilemma, the two available options must be in direct conflict or contradiction to one another, such that choosing one would result in the violation of the other. Human and social service professionals confront ethical dilemmas regularly. In these situations, professionals must think critically and consult with colleagues and ethical codes in order to minimize ethical impact.

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In the media entitled Is It an Ethical Dilemma? in this week’s Learning Resources, there are two human and social services professionals discussing professional issues they are each having. Listen to each and consider which one represents an ethical dilemma. After you are finished, return to this page to begin your Discussion.

For this Discussion, you analyze an ethical dilemma that you have experienced in your own professional workplace or community work (not your personal or family life). You also use information from this week’s Learning Resources and from your own research to determine whether the ethical dilemma should have been handled differently.

To Prepare:

  • Using the Walden Library or professional resources on the Internet, research and select a journal article, professional newsletter, or other professional publication that outlines an ethical dilemma in a human or social services agency environment. Consider how the dilemma was solved. Did the parties involved apply codes of ethics or ethical decision-making models?
  • Select an ethical dilemma from your own professional experience (or community work) and reflect on how you managed the situation. Then consider how you might apply any information or techniques from the article you analyzed to your own past ethical dilemma.

By Day 3

Post a description of an ethical dilemma that you experienced in your professional workplace or in your community work (not your personal or family life). Explain how you managed the situation and why. Next, using information from the article you found in your research, explain whether you would now manage the situation you experienced differently and why.

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