Ethical Challenges: Interpersonal Relations
Table of Contents
As it is known, ethical issues quite often induce the development of conflicts, which complicate interpersonal relations at all levels. As a result, the productivity of people’s collaboration decreases. To prevent the negative outcomes of ethical problems, program evaluators should study the causes and effects of ethical and moral problems with the aim to find effective solutions. This paper observes and discusses plausible ethical conflicts and challenges with the purpose to find the appropriate ways of their anticipation and solving.
The Challenging Ethical Conflicts that Interfere the Process of Assessment and Decision-Making
It goes without saying that during program evaluators’ performance, they are doomed to face a lot of challenging ethical conflicts. One of the most important is the complexity of a problem that is being addressed. In particular, one should comprehend that ethical challenges are interdependent. Moreover, they resonate with the state, social and individual planes of human’s existence. Therefore, it is not surprising that all ethical issues are composed; and an endeavor to study and eliminate one of them evokes the necessity to cope with other ethical concerns.
This process triggers almost unavoidable dualism. Consider the rationale, the process of evaluation presumes “assigning value to something” (Leviton, 2011, p. 242). Given this definition, the more complex a problem is, the more issues and/or confusion with identifying the value of notions is. Undoubtedly, this situation itself is already challenging, but the ethical conflict lies deeper. To assign value, one should be competent in the addressed questions. First of all, it means possessing enough empirical knowledge (Leviton, 2011, p. 242). Unfortunately, despite being seemingly a simple requirement, it often becomes an inhibiting factor of the ethical decision-making. As a rule, in many spheres, people experience a lack of the empirical data that is needed in order to address ethical problems. What makes the things even worse is that the acquisition of the needed information is not always possible, or it may not be sufficient enough for conducting a credible evaluation.
Second of all, a conjunctive ethical conflict is the subjectivism of the program evaluators, which may interfere with the unbiased approach towards assessment and decision-making (Leviton, 2011, p. 242). The fact is that people try to be objective in their judgments, however, practically, it is almost impossible. In fact, the process of evaluation occurs in accordance with the already known information including the ethical and moral concepts (which is different for every individual). As a result, a person may experience a conflict between what is known to be ethical and what is considered to be ethical by other people (sometimes by the majority). Another negative implication of this issue can be observed by the third parties when a person involuntary reveals biases. In other words, while making assumptions and studying the premises, it is possible to adhere to incorrect data and, respectfully, conclusions, without personal awareness regarding own subjectivism. These examples depict the dualism as a significant ethical problem. Specifically, one should accentuate that the lack of empirical knowledge, as well as limited opportunities for research, and subjectivism stipulate the development of conflicts, which complicates the process of assessment and studying. In addition, it implies individual and collective relativism: one ethical issue may have more than one correct treatment, meanwhile, the views of the program do not coincide with the generally accepted opinions.
As it is seen from the description, the highlighted causes of challenging ethical conflicts cannot be totally solved, however, they can be tamed. To succeed with this task, it is appropriate to verify own knowledge and attitudes with the corresponding insights of other individuals. To avoid subjectivism, it is necessary to be open-minded and tolerate different views. It is critical to subordinate own actions and judgments to the idea that several people can contribute more to the assessment and problem-solving than a single individual. In this terms, one should strive to obtain the golden middle by assembling and comparing own knowledge and information revealed by other people.
The Ethical and Moral Controversy between Federal Regulations and Actual Social/Individual Costs
To discuss ethical concerns, it is appropriate to refer to the Freddie Gray case, the city of Baltimore. It is connected with riots by which the locals strived to demonstrate their protest regarding improper behavior of the police (Broadwater, 2015). This case depicts that ethical issues are often triggered by a diversity of the purposes of the involved parties (Schweigert, 2007). For instance, in this case, damaged businesses and injured police officers are the consequences of riots that are based on people’s right to protect their freedoms by arranging demonstrations. Some of these people claim to act in ethical frames, but in fact, they behave in a wrong way both in moral and legal terms.
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In the contemporary world, the ethical and moral relativism remains a vastly discussed topic that evokes a lot of debates and concerns. In particular, setting the universal moral and ethical standards remains a challenging issue that is being addressed at all levels (individual, state, social, etc.). Nevertheless, this goal has not been achieved yet. In this regard, it is necessary to point out that the ambivalence of moral and ethical approaches is reinforced by state regulations (Blustein, 2005). Specifically, the gap between the notions of legacy and morality contributes to the confusion while elaborating the ethical decision-making strategies. In the first place, it complicates instilling the proper behavioral patterns and interpretive frameworks that help defining right from wrong. As the discussed case study reveals, different participants of riots have diverse views towards the appropriate measures of addressing the ethical issue of the police actions.
Taking into account the above-revealed scrutiny, one can rightfully presume that in order to mitigate the unethical and immoral implications of riot, it is necessary to lessen the controversy between its assessment. In practice, it means considering the moral aspects of the issue and creating the appropriate legal regulations. In other words, it is useful and applicable to limit the freedom that directly or indirectly violate the well-being of other citizens. For instance, if a business experiences severe loses because of riots, then riots should be stopped. This decision should be taken basing on the utilitarian approach of assuring the good and happiness to as many people as possible. In these terms, it is necessary to clarify that this approach should not serve to deny people’s rights for public manifestations of their views. It is important to emphasize the ethical and moral sides of this decision. In practice, it can be done through developing the procedure of demonstrations that is peaceful and does not possess any harm either for participants or the third parties. The principle of problem-anticipation underlies Teleological Ethical Theory that will be discussed in the next section.
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Teleological Theory of Ethics
Teleological theory of ethics is an important approach towards ethical decision-making. It suggests that the assessment of plausible risks allows identifying the undesirable results and fixing causal links in a way that prevents the occurrence of the negative outcomes. Given this definition, one can rightfully presume that this approach should be taken as a basis of the decision-making process with the aim to eliminate the emergence of the conjunctive conflicting situations. The importance of this idea can hardly be overestimated considering that today’s world reveals composed and challenging ethical issues that involve a lot of variables and participants.
Understanding this peculiarity, it is also necessary to comprehend that the process of assessment and decision-making should be conducted in the most ethical way of addressing the needs and expectations of all stakeholders. For example, it goes without saying that being fair while drawing a report is important even if it portraits a city in a negative light. It resonates with the idea that justice is the duty and, people, who are empowered to monitor the fairness, should not give up under the pressure of other individuals, no matter how powerful they are. Nevertheless, if the research reveals the findings that are potentially harmful (in ethical, moral or other terms) for stakeholders, it is appropriate to weigh the sufficiency of committing the act of an offense. In other words, the benefits of the exposure of results should overweight the shortcomings of affecting the well-being of stakeholders. Therefore, the plausible outcomes should be anticipated. In a case, if the benefits overweight the costs, it is recommended to create the report that may contain offensive information. On the contrary, if the reason of causing the distress to other individuals is relatively insignificant, the alternative measures should be considered. For instance, it is possible to forward the results directly to stakeholders without giving them publicity. Moreover, the rhetoric may be changed to a milder tone that is supposed to be less assaulting. In a word, during the process of assessment and decision-making, one should remember the significance of staying in ethical and moral frames revealing true concerns regarding the well-being of every stakeholder. To excel with this purpose, it is crucial to anticipate the consequences of actions and plan own performance in accordance with both actual findings and anticipated premise of their plausible actions, as it is suggested by Teleological Theory.
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Summing up the above-mentioned, one should accentuate that the modern world encourages more intense collaboration and interpersonal relations. Therefore, to assure the achievement of goals and fruitful communication at all levels, program evaluators should study the causes and outcomes of ethical and moral issues. In these terms, an important aspect is enhancing empirical knowledge regarding the discussed problems. Besides, one should strive to develop unbiased attitude and tolerance during the processes of survey and decision-making. Moreover, to be able to effectively address ethical and moral issues, it is important to understand that they are often evoked by the controversy of legacy and morality as well as by the diversity of individuals’ needs and views. Finally, a program evaluator should consider the appropriateness of problem-anticipation, which presumes to apply the Teleological Ethical Theory.