Ethics And The Ethical Dilemma

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Ethics in business has to do with making the right choices - often there is no apparent one right way and one must choose the best in the circumstances. Managers are sometimes faced with business choices that create tensions between ethics and profits, or between their private gain and the public good. Any decision where moral considerations are relevant can potentially give rise to an ethical dilemma, for example: • A decision that requires a choice between rules • A decision where there is no rule, precedent or example to follow • A decision that morally requires two or more courses of action, which are in practice incompatible with each other. • A decision that should be taken in one’s self-interest, but which appears to violate a moral principle that you support. It is the imperative to act, combined with the uncertainty of which action to take, that causes a dilemma. My thinking was influenced by Goldratt’s (1994) Evaporating Cloud technique, which is used for the logical representation of conflict. The Business Ethics Synergy Star (BESS) (Robinson, 2002) is designed specifically for the logical representation of any business issue that contains an ethical dimension. Its constructs provide the user with a consistent way of expressing moral dilemmas. By defining the desired outcome (O), two necessary conditions (X and Y), and their corresponding pre-requisites (Z and –Z), any dilemma can be portrayed as follows: In order to achieve a desired outcome (O), I must have X

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