People take individual, managerial, and cultural values into account while making decisions and apply these values to measure how ethical their decisions are. People are often likely to ignore choices that do not coincide with what they see as correct. A great challenge occurs when values contradict resulting in an ethical dilemma.
For example, the values set by the organization might be incompatible with workers’ individual or cultural values. In order to settle such ethical dilemmas, scholars recommend a methodical analysis of the problem by the separate decision maker. The decisions will still be ethical even if the analysis is moved from individual and subjective, to rational and value-based. Formation of an analytic outline can diminish such problems; however, orientation to values and ethical principles should go first. Moreover, conflict discussion and efficient communication are needed to help in a rapid but intellectual solution of the ethical conflicts. To solve this controversy, people also should compare their tasks with the values they consider most important for them (Levy 1976).
Efficient and ethical decision-making is a rather complicated process. Decision-making includes a methodical process of estimating profits, costs, and evidence.
Professionals should make decisions concerning the necessary actions remaining loyal to their professional ethical obligations. For example:
1. A gay couple might visit a social worker in order to reinforce their sensitive, psychic, and physical relations. If the social worker refuses to help the couple in reaching their aim basing on an individual values that classify homosexual relations as initially immoral, this means a lack of expert’s reliability, goes into contradiction with the Code, and is a complete denial of the customers’ expressed aims (Sharma 2004).
2. A social worker who reckons that abortion is immoral might deal with an unmarried, pregnant woman hesitating about whether or not to have a child and keep it.
Relying upon the social worker’s individual principle, the customer might decide to give birth to her baby. However, the customer might meet unpredicted outcome when, opposing the earlier designed plans, her parents are busy and have no possibility to provide baby care. Although the customer made a primary decision that is coherent with the social worker’s individual values, it is vital for the social worker to stay engaged with the customer to help her deal with complicated choices concerning whether or not she may keep and take care of her baby for she has to go back to work. As coherent with the Code of Ethics, social workers must not finish services sharply, but keep on observing the customers’ condition even if customers take into account decisions that do not comply with the social workers’ individual values (Levy 1976).
To sum it all up, we would like to emphasize the importance of loyalty to the Code of Ethics for settling private and professional value dilemmas; in the context of the authority and special obligations one should hold as a specialist in regard to his customers. The Code of Ethics is the central document that establishes limits within which specialists should work as they outline their individual values in the background of their professional function. Moreover, professional textbooks, not individual visions, should become a primary source for comprehension the Code of Ethics. When settling clashes or dilemmas that occur between individual and professional values, a specialist should depend on the Code of Ethics which gives means for dealing with the complicated process of ethical decision-making. Eventually, we underline the significance of training ethical decision-making in programs on social work and intensify ethical decision-making as an essential characteristic of constant professional development (Suresh 2005).
Levy, C. S. (1976). Person versus professional values: The practitioner’s dilemmas. Clinical Social Work Journal, 4, 110-120.
Tart, C.T. (1979). Science and the Sources of Value. University of California. New Directions in the Study of Man. V.3, 1, 25-29.
Sharma P., K.T. Bhal. (2004). Managerial Ethics: Dilemmas and Decision Making. Sage Publications Pvt. Ltd.
Suresh J., B. Raghavan. (2005). Professional Ethics: Values and Ethics of Profession. Chand. (S.) & Co Ltd.