Ethical Dilemmas in Profession: Healthcare, Education, Corporate, Social work

24/07/2022 0 By indiafreenotes


Health care ethics is the application of the core principles of bioethics (autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, justice) to medical and health care decisions. It is a multidisciplinary lens through which to view complex issues and make recommendations regarding a course of action.

Decision-making capacity is a clinical assessment regarding an individual’s ability to make informed decisions about their care. Decisional capacity is directly linked to informed consent and is decision dependent.

Rural health care ethics focuses on health care ethics uncertainty or conflicts occurring in the distinct context of the rural setting. What makes rural health care ethics different is how the rural environment influences both the presentation and the response to ethics conflicts.

The Principle of Nonmaleficence

Nonmaleficence means doing no harm. Providers must ask themselves whether their actions may harm the patient either by omission or commission. The guiding principle of primum non nocere, “First of all, do no harm,” is found in the Hippocratic Oath. Actions or practices of a healthcare provider are “right” as long as they are in the interest of the patient and avoid negative consequences.

Harm by an act of omission means that some action could have been done to avoid harm but wasn’t done. Omission would be failing to raise the side rails on the patient’s hospital bed, upon which the patient fell out and was injured. An act of Commission is something actually done that resulted in harm. An example of an act of commission would be delivering a medication in the wrong dose or to the wrong patient.

The Principle of Beneficence

The beneficent practitioner provides care that is in the best interest of the patient. Beneficence is the act of being kind. The actions of the healthcare provider are designed to bring about a positive outcome. Beneficence always raises the question of subjective and objective determinations, of benefit versus harm. A beneficent decision can only be objective if the same decision would be made regardless of who was making it.

The Principle of Justice

Justice speaks to equity and fairness in treatment. Hippocrates related ethical principles to the individual relationship between the physician and the patient. Ethical practice today must extend beyond individuals to the institutional and societal realms. This means that, in addition to providing fairness in treatment to the patient, the institution and staff must also be treated fairly. For example, it is not fair if a patient cannot make payments and the institution has to pay for the treatments already given for the patient’s benefit.


Educational ethics is a field which considers ethical problems and dilemmas specific to the complexities of education, with a view to assisting educators, educational policy-makers and school communities to clarify these context-specific problems and making ethical recommendations for their resolution.  It includes the history and development of educational policies with a particular focus on its potential or actual ethical implications for school administration, teachers, school students, school communities and others; the analysis and articulation of teacher ethical obligations including but not limited to codes of conduct and ethics in teaching; research relating to ethical conduct, manner and the moral life of schools, the investigation of models and theories of ethical beliefs and decision-making in relation to tertiary, school and child care education; and pedagogical dimensions, interventions or curriculum for teaching and learning professional ethics with initial and in-service teachers.


Business ethics (also known as corporate ethics) is a form of applied ethics or professional ethics, that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business environment. It applies to all aspects of business conduct and is relevant to the conduct of individuals and entire organizations. These ethics originate from individuals, organizational statements or the legal system. These norms, values, ethical, and unethical practices are the principles that guide a business.

Business ethics refers to contemporary organizational standards, principles, sets of values and norms that govern the actions and behavior of an individual in the business organization. Business ethics have two dimensions, normative business ethics or descriptive business ethics. As a corporate practice and a career specialization, the field is primarily normative. Academics attempting to understand business behavior employ descriptive methods. The range and quantity of business ethical issues reflects the interaction of profit-maximizing behavior with non-economic concerns.

Interest in business ethics accelerated dramatically during the 1980s and 1990s, both within major corporations and within academia. For example, most major corporations today promote their commitment to non-economic values under headings such as ethics codes and social responsibility charters.


  1. Corporate responsibility

Businesses have responsibilities to their employees, their clients or customers, and, in some cases, to their board of directors. Some of these may be contractual or legal obligations, others may be promises, for example, to conduct business fairly and to treat people with dignity and respect. Whatever those obligations are, the business has a responsibility to keep them.

  1. Personal responsibility

Each person who works for a business, whether on the executive level or the entry-level, will be expected to show personal responsibility. This could mean completing tasks your manager has assigned to you, or simply fulfilling the duties of your job description. If you make a mistake, you acknowledge your fault and do whatever you need to do to fix it.

  1. Loyalty

Both businesses and their employees are expected to show loyalty. Employees should be loyal to their co-workers, managers, and the company. This might involve speaking positively about the business in public and only addressing personnel or corporate issues in private. Customer or client loyalty is important to a company not only to maintain good business relations but also to attract business through a good reputation.

  1. Trustworthiness

A business cultivates trustworthiness with its clients, customers and employees through honesty, transparency and reliability. Employees should feel they can trust the business to keep to the terms of their employment. Clients and customers should be able to trust the business with their money, data, contractual obligations and confidential information. Being trustworthy encourages people to do business with you and helps you maintain a positive reputation.

  1. Respect

Respect is an important business ethic, both in the way the business treats its clients, customers and employees, and also in the way its employees treat one another. When you show respect to someone, that person feels like a valued member of the team or an important customer. You care about their opinions, you keep your promises to them, and you work quickly to resolve any issues they may have.

  1. Fairness

When a business exercises fairness, it applies the same standards for all employees regardless of rank. The same expectations with regard to honesty, integrity and responsibility placed upon the entry-level employee also apply to the CEO. The business will treat its customers with equal respect, offering the same goods and services to all based on the same terms.

  1. Community and Environmental Responsibility

Not only will businesses act ethically toward their clients, customers and employees, but also with regard to the community and the environment. Many companies look for ways to give back to their communities through volunteer work or financial investments. They will also adopt measures to reduce waste and promote a safe and healthy environment.

Social work

Social work ethics are based on the profession’s core values of social justice, service, dignity, and worth of each person, integrity, the importance of human relationships, and competence. These are the overarching ideals to which all social work professionals should aspire. These ethical principles lay the foundation for specific ethical standards that social workers need to follow.

Social work ethical principles include:

  • Social justice: Social workers are to challenge social injustice and seek social change on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people.
  • Service: the primary goals of the profession are to address social problems and help people in need.
  • Dignity and worth: Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of each person, being mindful of diversity, and interact with each individual in a caring and respectful manner.
  • Integrity: Social workers are trustworthy, understanding the profession’s ethical responsibilities and acting in ways that are consistent with those requirements.
  • Importance of human relationships: Social workers understand that relationships are a critical vehicle of change and work to include clients as partners in the helping process.
  • Competency: Social workers are constantly increasing their skills and knowledge to apply these improved skills in practice. Social workers also contribute to the professions’ knowledge base by conducting, reading, and promoting research.