For this paper, you will be selecting an ethical dilemma. One of the most important aspects of the assignment is to make sure that the problem that you come up with is actually a true ethical dilemma. Many students come up with examples that are ethical problems, but not ethical dilemmas. One of the keys to recognizing whether or not a problem is truly an ethical dilemma has to do with the level of moral ambiguity. Ethical dilemmas are high in moral ambiguity. Let me point you to two sections in the text that may be of some help. On pages 59-60, Linzer discusses the concept of “moral traces”. He states: “The concept ‘moral traces’ refers to the consequences of having chosen one path, as opposed to the other path in an ethical dilemma. Since both choices are ethical, the decision to act on one creates the feeling of having violated the other. There is no winner in ethical decision making” (p. 60 italics added). One of the observations that Dr. Linzer made in his lectures was that in a true ethical dilemma you never know whether or not you made the “right” decision because both arguments are compelling and you will never know the outcome of the option that you did not choose and you will always wonder if you make the right decision. That is the “moral trace”.
When writing your paper, please follow this outline:
- Briefly describe your agency’s services and setting.
- Present a conflict situation from your own human service work that involves any number of parties, including yourself (you must be a part of the conflict/dilemma), the client, the family, the agency, the board, the funding agency, etc. Summarize the conflict in one paragraph.
- Clearly state the ethical dilemma. Discuss what makes this an ethical dilemma. It would be excellent if you can identify the values that are in conflict (For more on this please see the mini-lecture on Beauchamp and Childress). Analyze the conflict from the value perspective of each of the parties. (You could use Levy’s classification of values to do this.)
- Offer your resolution of this dilemma and the reasoning behind your decision. Your decision should be theoretically justified. (You cannot simply say that I decided to do this based on my own personal values.) Be sure to substantiate your rationale with the relevant literature.
Please be sure to proofread your paper well prior to submission, checking for grammar and spelling. Your paper should be five to six pages in length, not including appendices. The paper should be typed and double-spaced, following APA Guidelines.