The 2011 National Business Ethics survey reported that 45% of respondents witnessed ethical
misconduct at work, a record low for the survey; 63% of those respondents reported the misconduct,
a record high. Of those whistleblowers, 22% reported retaliation (Ethics Resource Center, 2012).
These statistics seem to indicate increased attention to ethical business practice. However, they also
point to an ongoing need to continue to strengthen commitment to ethical business practice. Business
professionals and scholars need to know how to face ethical dilemmas and make sound ethical
decisions. DBA students should have a basic understanding of various ethical frameworks and
understand how these frameworks influence real-world business decisions. Northouse (2013) stated,
�[e]thical theory provides a system of rules or principles that guide us in making decisions about
what is right or wrong and good or bad in a particular situation. It provides a basis for understanding
what it means to be a morally decent human being� (p. 424). Ethical values are used daily for
decision making in business. Understanding and analyzing various ethical frameworks will enable you
to better solve ethical dilemmas.
�Read the case study, �Hierarchical Motive Structures and Their Role in Moral Choices,� found in
this Module�s Learning Resources, and complete the exercise on pp. 482�483.
ETHICAL DILEMMAS 2
By Day 3 of Week 6, post a solution to the ethical dilemma posed in the case study. Justify your
proposed solution, and explain the reasoning you used to arrive at your solution. Incorporate the
justifications you provided in response to the exercise on pp. 482�483. Identify which ethical
frameworks outlined in the Learning Resources or in other scholarly literature align with your
reasoning. Explain how your reasoning aligns with those frameworks.
�Use academic justification and two scholarly resources, in addition to those presented in the
Learning Resources, to support your solution.
ETHICAL DILEMMAS 3
Reason for your decision Why is it important for you? Why is it important for you?
To ensure that my colleague
It would make me happier to
know that I saved someone
who was innocent.
Failure to save him would
leave me with a feeling of
To ensure that those who
were planning evil against
my colleague got justice for
Living with them would
arouse fear in me
Getting them reprimanded
for their mistakes would
help me feel safer. I would
stop fearing that they will do
the same to others in the
To free myself. I would feel
pressurized to work with
people for whom I would
always be required to keep a
Their being reprimanded
would mean that I would
stop being accountable to
There was a chance that they
would be changed to better
persons in the society
To help correct the guilty
Protecting the lives of wrong
doers prevents them from
changing for the better.
It would be sad to have a
friend deteriorate in terms of
discipline and manners
because I cannot take action.
The dilemma involves either choosing to hide the acts of an evil friend or protecting
an innocent person. I believe that my decision to tell the truth would be mostly affected by
my self-respect. The decision would be highly charged by the fact that I would not want to be
ETHICAL DILEMMAS 4
associated with supporting the wrong doers at the expense of someone who was innocent.
People who have a high self-esteem are more likely to be ethical (Bucaro 2013; Cohen, 2007;
Bellamy, 2008). Such people put the risk involved in obtaining justice behind the justice
itself. They feel that their decision is vital for the way a case goes and therefore opt to make
the most positive contribution towards it. However, other factors would also play a part in my
choosing to take action to save my colleague.
First, I would feel guilty for facilitating a wrong doing to take place. The very act of
making it possible for evidence to be declared sufficiently incriminating as to warrant
someone who is innocent to be declared guilty would be very hard to live with. Compared to
allowing people who are guilty to be arrested would count far lesser compared to that even if
they were very close friends.
In conclusion, the need to do the right thing, probably in the face of society can make
me make an ethical decision. Some people would be more comfortable protecting their
friendship or their own security. However, I would trust the justice system to protect, the
society, my colleague and myself in such a dilemma situation. I think helping find justice for
an innocent person would help me to obtain better friends than those I would be protecting by
choosing to say no.
ETHICAL DILEMMAS 5
Bellamy, A. J. (2008). Fighting terror: Ethical dilemmas. London: Zed Books.
Bucaro, F. (2013). Importance of Influenza Vaccination for Health Care Personnel.