Personal Ethical Dilemma Analysis






Personal Ethical Dilemma Analysis




Personal Ethical Dilemma Analysis

Ethical dilemma is defined as a situation in which two or more right values are in conflict according to authors Trevino and Nelson (2017). They further share that in situations where two or more important values, rights, or responsibilities conflict and there has to be a choice between equally unpleasant alternatives (Trevino et al., 2017). Each of us will identify values that make us the persons we are and use to analyze issues. Values relate to principles and attitudes that provide direction to everyday living. In just about every occupation, professionals are faced with ethical dilemmas. Dilemmas at workplaces can sometimes be the hardest decision to make in life; however, as a professional we must take proper steps to move further and not jeopardize relationships, careers, and environments. The following paragraphs will describe a professional ethical dilemma, use different lenses to analyze the dilemma, and finally exploring options for a resolution.

Description of Ethical Dilemma

The identified professional ethical dilemma is the inappropriate use of company resources. The ethical dilemma is the use of company credit card by upper management and reimbursements. There have been a couple incidences that have moved me towards this direction of topic. The first incident would be from a previous CEO of our small company to which he used the company credit card for money advances. The second incident is not as grave as the first one but it is something that needed attention as it still fell under the use of company resources. This incident involved reimbursement for travel. Individuals would submit for reimbursement for their air fare after placing it on their personal credit card. The reason these two incidences fall under a professional ethical dilemma as the company resources had been used inappropriately and misleading. The first incident of taking money advances was wrong as to the individual was using the monies for gambling. The second incident of reimbursements was that the individuals were using personal credit card to gain air miles for their own personal vacations.According to an article of the five most common ethical issues in a workplace it described that under Unethical Leadership managers made up 60% of workplace misconduct (Michigan State University, 2019). The article included the following factors under Unethical Leadership: manipulating numbers in a report or spending company money on inappropriate activities; however, it can also occur more subtly, in the form of bullying, accepting inappropriate gifts from suppliers, or asking you to skip a standard procedure just once (Michigan State University, 2019).


As each decision is made by us, it affects other people. Upper management has the obligation to consider their ethical decisions on others. The company, the accounting department of the company, board members, and staff are likely to be affected as to having a moral claim identifying them as stakeholders. Other stakeholders would be the establishment where the funds were used at.

Theories and Principles

The consequentialist approach remains to be the best approach to use in the business ethical decision making according to authors Trevino and Nelson (2017). The reasons they share as to being the best approach is that utilitarian thinking underlies much of the business and economics literature. A second reason is that most of us would admit that considering the consequences of one’s decisions or actions for society is extremely important to good ethical decision making (Trevino et al., 2017). On the other hand, a deontological approach there may be more of a thought process of “doing right” based on moral values of responsibility and property. To which in the first incident of cash advances, the individual may not have been thinking of the overall consequences afterwards. In the virtue of ethics lens the question one would be asking himself is to how would it been seen in the local newspaper or even the newsletter of the community? To which would not be favorable as it would demonstrate the dishonesty of such individual. To where would cause a domino effect as to who approved such expense report, how many times had it occurred, and why had it not been reported sooner.

Courses of Action

Identification of possible courses of action and the participants involved, along possible benefits and risks for each, is important for making the best decision when it comes to the ethical dilemma. The possible courses are not doing anything, report the matter, and talk about the matter directly with board members. Another course to which would be advantageous would be having appropriate management procedures such as formal approval procedures, reconciliations, and audit requirements in place.

In conclusion, an ethical dilemma is a conflict of moral principles, occurring when there is conflict adhering to one principle which results in violating another principle. The inappropriate use of company credit card for the use of money advance from an individual was identified. The reason of this ethical dilemma of inappropriate use of company resources had violated the company’s financial resources. In practice organizations need cultural and legal frameworks and mechanisms to assist their members understand the difference between what is ethical and what is unethical, as has been argued by Lopez et al. (2005). In creating a culture of ethical practice will allow for individuals to rehearse the end results of conflicting values.




Lopez, Y. P., Rechner, P. L., & Olson-Buchanan, J. B. (2005). Shaping ethical perceptions: An

empirical assessment of the influence of business education, culture, and

demographic factors. Journal of Business Ethics, 60(4), 341-358.

Michigan State University. (2019, July 15). 5 Common ethical issues in the workplace. Retrieved


Trevino, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2017, 7th Edition). Managing business ethics: Straight Talk         about how to do it right. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.




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