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March 2005 - Handling Ethical Dilemmas

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John Kline, PhD, inspirational and motivational keynote and after-dinner speaker and corporate trainer.March 2005

Handling Ethical Dilemmas

Socrates was right!  Ethical dilemmas are inevitable.

  • Should I tell the truth to my wife when we are going out the door and she asks how I like her new outfit or should I make her feel good by telling her how good it looks on her?

  • Should my friend place his aged mother in a home where she will receive outstanding care or follow her wishes and take her into his home causing a great hardship on family members?

  • Should my neighbor extend the life of her twelve-year-old golden retriever or mercifully relieve the dog’s suffering by having her put to sleep?

Ethical dilemmas result when something good must be given up or some bad thing happens no matter which choice we make.  How should we prepare to make wise choices?

  1. Think for yourself.  While parents, friends, and religious beliefs influence our values and the choices we make, nothing should replace rational thought and experience in our moral and ethical development.
  2. Take responsibility for your actions and be able to give reasons for choices you make, especially to yourself.  Understanding your reasons and assuming responsibility for your actions makes you more confident and comfortable with your decisions.
  3. Always do the right things for the right reasons.  Both actions and intentions are important.  Taking both into account will help you make sound ethical decisions.

Do all three things listed above and you will successfully handle most ethical dilemmas you face.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

March 2005 - Handling Ethical Dilemmas
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