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Resolving Real-Life Ethical Dilemmas

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Real-to-Life Examples of Complex Ethical Dilemmas

"A customer (or client) asked for a product (or service)from us today. After we told him our price, he said he couldn't afford it.I know he could get it cheaper from a competitor. Should I tell him aboutthe competitor - or let him go without getting what he needs? What shouldI do?"

"Our company prides itself on its merit-based pay system.One of my employees has done a tremendous job all year, so he deserves strongrecognition. However, he's already paid at the top of the salary range forhis job grade and our company has too many people in the grade above him,so we can't promote him. What should I do?"

"Our company prides itself on hiring minorities. OneAsian candidate fully fits the job requirements for our open position. However,we're concerned that our customers won't understand his limited commandof the English language. What should I do?"

"My top software designer suddenly refused to use our e-mailsystem. He explained to me that, as a Christian, he could not use a productbuilt by a company that provided benefits to the partners of homosexualemployees. He'd basically cut himself off from our team, creating a majorobstacle to our product development. What should I do?"

"My boss told me that one of my employees is amongseveral others to be laid off soon, and that I'm not to tell my employeeyet or he might tell the whole organization which would soon be in an uproar.Meanwhile, I heard from my employee that he plans to buy braces for hisdaughter and a new carpet for his house. What should I do?"

"My computer operator told me he'd noticed severalpersonal letters printed from a computer that I was responsible to manage.While we had no specific policies then against personal use of company facilities,I was concerned. I approached the letter writer to discuss the situation.She told me she'd written the letters on her own time to practice usingour word processor. What should I do?"

"A fellow employee told me that he plans to quit thecompany in two months and start a new job which has been guaranteed to him.Meanwhile, my boss told me that he wasn't going to give me a new opportunityin our company because he was going to give it to my fellow employee now.What should I do?"

Checklist for Resolving Ethical Dilemmas

Twin Cities-based consultants Doug Wallace and Jon Pekel suggest the followingethical checklist to address ethical dilemmas. If necessary, revise yourdecision and action plan based on results of the this test.

Ethical Checklist
Circle the appropriate answer on the scale; " 1" = not at all; " 5" = totally yes
1. Relevant Information Test. Have I/we obtained as much information as possible tomake an informed decision and action plan for this situation?
1
2
3
4
5
2. Involvement Test. HaveI/we involved all who have a right to have input and/or to be involved inmaking this decision and action plan?
1
2
3
4
5
3. Consequential Test. HaveI/we anticipated and attempted to accommodate for the consequences of thisdecision and action plan on any who are significantly affected by it?
1
2
3
4
5
4. Fairness Test. IfI/we were assigned to take the place of any one of the stakeholders in thissituation, would I/we perceive this decision and action plan to be essentiallyfair, given all of the circumstances?
1
2
3
4
5
5. Enduring Values Test. Dothis decision and action plan uphold my/our priority enduring values thatare relevant to this situation?
1
2
3
4
5
6. Universality Test. WouldI/we want this decision and action plan to become a universal law applicableto all similar situations, even to myself/ourselves?
1
2
3
4
5
7. Light-of-Day Test. Howwould I/we feel and be regarded by others (working associates, family, etc.)if the details of this decision and action plan were disclosed for all toknow?
1
2
3
4
5
8. Total Ethical Analysis Confidence Score. Place the total of all circled numbers here.

How confident can you be that you have done a goodjob of ethical analysis?

7-14
15-21
22-28
29-35
Not very confident
Somewhat confident
Quite confident
Very confident

Copyright 1999 Authenticity Consulting. All rights reserved. The Checklist for Resolving Ethical Dilemmas is used with permission from Copyright holders: DougWallace and Jon Pekel, Twin Cities-based consultants in the Fulcrum Group(651-699-3830).

Last updated: Nov 11, 1999




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