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Ethical Dilemma Elizabeth Ping – T-012 Jeff Ford Spring Arbor University Values: Personal and Social IDS 400 May 4, 2010
ETHICAL DILLEMA Ethical Dilemma Ethical dilemmas can be challenging for the person in charge of determining what the consequences of certain actions should be. Take for instance, the story of a successful
administer of 28 years who was recently found to have lied about two academic degrees that she had never earned and about attending a university that she was never at. Although, this administrator has been nationally recognized, some say that any falsification in academic credentials warrants resignation, while others say that the falsification of academic credentials is only a minor affair given the woman's many years of experience and recognition of good service. The following is a response to the case study utilizing a Christian world view and Robert Nash's 9-step ethical decision making model. Questions 1 & 2 The first question asked in Nash's 9-step ethical decision making model is, "What are the central moral issues in your case-dilemma?" Since, the administrator lied about her academic degrees, dishonesty and not maintaining her integrity are the major moral issues. No one likes a person who lies and cheats through life, and most people value hard work and honesty about their accomplishments. The second question asks, "What are the ethical conflicts in your case that make it an actual dilemma needing rigorous ethical analysis and resolution?" For Christians, dishonesty and integrity are central to their world view and hold much importance. Kimball (2006) maintained that integrity is fundamental to good character and that when we are dishonest we cheat ourselves and others (pp. 124-134). The Bible abounds with passages that provide evidence that God disproves of lying and that the administrator's dilemma deserves resolution based on moral grounds. One such example is, "Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: But they that deal truly are his delight (Proverbs 12:22, King James Version). Another example is, "No
ETHICAL DILLEMA one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence" (Psalm 101:7, New International Version). Questions 3 & 4
The third question in Nash's 9-step ethical decision making model is, "Who are the major stakeholders in your case?" There are many stakeholders involved in the ethical dilemma including the administrator, the administrator's family, and the faculty and students at the university. This is because, whatever a person does affects others. The fourth question asks, "What are some foreseeable consequences of the possible choices in your case-dilemma and what are some foreseeable principles?" On a temporal level, the administrator loses pay and credibility if forced to resign. She may be also unable to obtain further employment, and her family may be stigmatized and face financial difficulties. However, by leaving the university, the principle of academic honesty is upheld. If the administrator is allowed to stay at the university, the principle of academic dishonesty is weakened. Students at the university might feel that it is unfair that they are held to academic standards that are higher than those who are at the head of the university. Questions 5 & 6 The fifth question in Nash's 9-step ethical decision making model is, "What are some important background beliefs that you should consider in your case-dilemma?" According to the Christian world view, honesty and integrity represent fundamental ideas that God wants his people to follow. Scripture represents the idea of integrity by saying, "The man of integrity walks securely, but he who taketh the crooked path will be found out (Proverbs 10:9, New International Version). Additionally, the Christian belief of forgiveness is central to how the writer chooses to respond to the ethical dilemma of the case study. Scripture represents the idea of forgiveness by saying, "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have
ETHICAL DILLEMA against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13). Thus is it important to God that people should forgive each other. The sixth question asks, "What are some of you initial intuitions and feelings about your case-dilemma?" The writer's initial feeling is that what
the administrator did was very wrong and that she should not be allowed to be in such high office at the university because it is unfair to other people who have worked hard and deserve the position more. Questions 7 & 8 The seventh question in Nash's 9-step ethical decision making model is, "What choices would you make if you were to act in character in your case-dilemma?" Acting in character means that the writer would be required to maintain the Christian world view that honesty and integrity are God's wishes. This means that the writer would have to acknowledge that what the administrator did was wrong based on moral grounds specified by the Bible. The writer would also have to acknowledge that the administrator should be forgiven because the God teaches that we should forgive others. Thus, the writer feels comfortable with defending the idea that the administrator should maintain her position in the university because God teaches that we should forgive. The eighth question asks, " What does your profession's code of ethics say regarding the relevant moral issues in your case-dilemma?" For the field of academia, academic honesty is very important and is a cornerstone to values at the university level. Likewise, for the nursing profession, honesty and integrity are central to being a good nurse. Accordingly, the writer is planning to become a certified nurse midwife, and one of the tenets in their code of ethics is to, "be open and honest, act with integrity and uphold the reputation of your profession" (The Code, 2009, para. 1). Question 9
ETHICAL DILLEMA The ninth question in Nash's 9-step ethical decision making model is, " What is your decision in the case-dilemma and do you have any nagging afterthoughts?" Ultimately, the
administrator was dishonest and did not follow God's teachings. However, God also teaches that forgiveness is important. The writer believes that the embarrassment of lying about her academic records in combination with her ability to do the job with great efficiency warrants that she should maintain her position at the university. Furthermore, the administrator will have to seek forgiveness from God for having been dishonest so she faces great moral consequence if she chooses not to repent. The only nagging afterthought that the writer has regarding allowing the administrator to stay in her position at the university is that students and other faculty may feel that it is permissible to lie and be dishonest. It can be seen through evaluating the case study involving the university administrator who displayed academic dishonesty that ethical dilemmas are not always clear cut. There are many considerations that must be made in order to make a fair assessment of what the moral outcomes should be for a particular situation. In this evaluation, Nash's 9-step ethical decision making model was used in conjunction with Christianity's world view in order to determine that the administrator should stay in office.
ETHICAL DILLEMA References Kimball, S. W. (2006). Integrity. Retrieved from http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hide Nav=1&locale=0&sourceId=5f49862384d20110VgnVCM100000176f620a ____&vgnextoid=88021b08f338c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD Nash, J. R. (n.d.). Real world ethics: A holistic, problem-solving framework. IDS 400 Values: Personal and Social. Spring Arbor, MI: Spring Arbor University. The code in full. (2009). Nursing and Midwifery Council. Retrieved from http://www.nmcuk.org/aArticle.aspx?ArticleID=3056
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