[Answered] What do you understand by ethical dilemma? How an administrator should deal with the situations of ethical dilemma?

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Various situations of ethical dilemmas and how civil servants should deal with it?
Conclusion. Way forward.

An ethical dilemma is a situation of conflict among various principles, creating a difficulty in decision making. An ethical dilemma arises when one has to choose between ethical values and rules in order to determine the right-thing-to-do.  Administrators too face ethical dilemmas many times. This lead to difficulty in decision making and require conscience to resolve such dilemmas.

Situations of ethical dilemmas faced by civil servants:

  1. Dilemmas between professional ethics and own personal values.
  2. Dilemma due to duty towards the community and being responsive to the government.
  3. In his desire to hold onto a job versus the professional ethics.
  4. Ethical dilemmas can arise, when two equally striking options are justified as right in certain situations.
  5. For a public servant attempting to function as a professional, the demands of law, his duty, fairness, due process, provides a productive ground in which ethical dilemmas arises.
  6. Other types of ethical dilemmas in which public servants may find themselves include conflict between:
    • The values of public administration.
    • Unclear or opposing answer-abilities.
    • Personal morals and work ethics versus administrative directive.
    • Validations for the institutions.
    • professional ethics and director or executive directive.
    • Features of the code of conduct.

Process of resolving an ethical dilemma in administration:

  1. Personal self-interest should be secondary to the common good in all situations, especially when such circumstances give rise to conflict of interest.
  2. A dilemma should be dealt appropriately by considering and reformulating all the options in a systematic and coherent manner.
  3. To resolve such ethical dilemmas, an order or a sequence of logical reasoning is must to integrate and rearrange the process of dealing with ethical dilemmas.
  4. The decisions should be guided by following principles:
    • The provisions of Indian Constitution.
    • Democratic accountability of administration.
    • The rule of law and the principle of legality.
    • Professional integrity.
    • Impartiality and neutrality.
    • Larger public good.
    • Responsiveness to civil society.
  5. The bureaucracy should be loyal to the country and it’s people while decision making considering consequences of such decisions.
  6. It is fundamental ethical duty of civil servants to show a spirit of neutrality and discretion and keep their own personal preferences out in the performance of their duties and responsibilities.

Civil servants are responsible for providing justice to many lives. Their impartiality and neutrality is must to uphold his/her duty towards a society. Dilemmas arise many times in life of civil servants while performing their duties. What required is the objective decision making for larger public benefit.

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