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Ethics, Question 1

Provide an appropriate definition, discuss your understanding, and provide an illustrative example for the term “ethical dilemma” (minimum 100 words, excluding the definition)

An “ethical dilemma” is a point in which doing something moral results in an outcome that is "bad," while doing something that is immoral results in an outcome that is "good" (or, at least, "not so bad") (Ross, 2008). Generally speaking, this is a point where you either stick to your morals or ethical stances regardless of the consequences, or you depart from them in order to achieve an outcome that you believe will be better for you and/or others who will be affected by the decision. There is no agreement about which way is the "right" way to go on this, though most like to think that they would "stick to their guns" and remain moral or ethical in any situation that arises.

An example of an ethical dilemma includes one I faced, where my office had been producing a portion of a product in violation of a license with a vendor under the previous administration, but when I uncovered the issue, I was forced to determine what the best course of action would be: should we reimburse the vendor for products illegally produced, or should we move forward with our new understanding of the license agreement and act with integrity going forward? We opted for the latter, basing this decision on a knowledge that the previous administration would not have purposefully made such an error, and knowing that we were working in good faith with the vendor as a result of catching the issue.

Works Cited

Ross, Kelly. The Generalized Structure of Moral/Ethical Dilemmas. Accessed on 11/28/09. 2008.


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