Ethical Dilemmas in Human Service Management: Identifying and Resolving the Challenges

Ethics and Social Welfare 6 (4):351-367 (2012)
Abstract
Human service managers are called on to make a variety of difficult decisions that often involve fundamental conflicts in values. Such conflicts constitute ethical dilemmas. This qualitative exploratory study examines how human service managers (N = 40), from the United States, identify and resolve ethical dilemmas. The dilemmas identified by the managers tended to result in the restriction of missions, programs, services and practice methods. The resolution of these ethical problems often rested on following the very rules that created the dilemmas. Additional strategies included consultations and reliance on abstract principles, specifically those of one's spiritual faith. Missing, however, were systematic or evidence-based procedures for resolving challenges that often threatened the very goals of the human service agencies. The need for more careful training in the area of ethical problem solving that maintains the vision of human services is presented
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