How Do You Handle Ethical Dilemmas?
Ethical questions are often easy to address. However, sometimes ethical quandaries can be overwhelming. In some situations, no easy answers exist and you are forced to select the best possible option from among several poor options.
Regardless of the depth of the ethical quandary, I have found that certain guiding questions can help to elucidate the decision process. While I make no claims at being an expert, I humbly offer these for your consideration. When I face a tough ethical decision, these are the questions that have helped me the most:
Will my decision create any ethical dilemmas, and if so, have I arrived at the best option among several less-than-ideal options?
Is there any opportunity to renegotiate with involved parties to resolve the ethical difficulties?
Is there a creative decision that I have not yet identified that would shed new light on the situation, thereby resolving the ethical dilemma?
Is there a way to reframe the problem so that the ethical concerns are satisfied while moving all parties forward?
Will my decision enhance my organization’s brand and reputation?
Will my decision enhance my brand and reputation?
Will my decision allow me to preserve my spiritual or religious convictions?
How would I view my decision 20 years from today?
How would others view my decision 20 years from today?
How would my significant other or my children view my decision 20 years from today?
Will my decision allow me to preserve my personal integrity?
Will my decision allow me to preserve my professional integrity?
Will my decision allow me to preserve my prior commitments to people and organizations?
Will my decision respect the rights, privileges, and preferences of the people involved?
Will my decision create the highest probability to do the most good for the most people over the long run?