Ethical Issues in Social Work Practice The social work profession and its Code of Ethics dictate that social workers must act in the best interest of the client, even when those actions challenge the practitioner’s personal, cultural and religious values. In practice; however, ethical decision-making is more complex than in theory. As helping professionals, social workers are constantly faced with ethical decision-making or ethical dilemmas. As noted by Banks (2005), an ethical dilemma occurs “when a worker is faced with a choice between two equally unwelcome alternatives that may involve a conflict of moral principles, and it is not clear what choice will be the right one” (as cited in McAuliffe & Chenoweth, 2008, p. 43). In addition, ethical decision-making is a process that encompasses a great use of self-awareness and critical thinking by the practitioner.
According to McDonald (2010) plays the construct of ethical relativism and ethical absolutism a crucial role in understanding the ethical theory. In fact, the central question is if a universal ethical standard exists or not. Supporters of the ethical relativism deny the existence of a global ethical and moral standard. They argue that ethics is depending on social customs, conventions or cultures (McDonald, 2010). Nevertheless,
Ethics are (standards) that are used by individual or group to determine what the right path of action in a situation is. Ethics depend on logical and rational standard to reach a decision, an basically cognitive process (Congress, 1999; Dolgoff, Loewenberg, & Harrington, 2009; Reamer, 1995; Robison & Reeser, 2002). Values, moreover, describe ideas that we estimate. To value something means that we feel it has worth to us. Often, values are ideas that we want to achieve, like equality and social justice.
So how one feels helps decide what is right and what is wrong. David Hume states that subjectivism creates a wide gap between ‘is’ (facts) and ‘ought’ (Individual beliefs). There are various advantages of ethical subjectivism, for example, it places emphasis on the human right ‘freedom of opinion’. I say this because this theory allows for people to express their own opinion instead of depending on society to provide an opinion. Subjectivism echoes the connection between morality and people’s emotional state and opinions.
There are many perspectives in defining ethics, morals and values. Ethics are viewed as a theoretic and moral consideration of what are “good”, “right” or “worthy” actions (Pack-Brown, Thomas, & Seymour, 2008). In the individual sense, ethics are seen as behaviours associated with the principles and values that are acceptable to the society (Taft & White, 2007). Morality, on the other hand, refers to “judgements of justice, rights, and welfare pertaining to how people ought to treat each other” and it helps to keep the harmony between people (Bartels, Bauman, Cushman, Pizarro, & Macgraw, 2015). Values are general principles used to guide actions and people use it to rationalise their behaviours.
Moral Relativism is the view of morality, much like beauty, is relative to the person, culture, or organization. This is because of moral relativism’s take on ethical dilemmas, and the view that there are a number of disagreements among people as to the nature of morality. An act can
In Lesson two the author discusses ideas and theories of morality from a comprehensive perspective. This chapter addresses consequentialist, which is those who are concerned with consequences, and non-consequentialist which are those that have no regard to consequences which are major viewpoints when it comes to ethics. How a person views possible consequences helps them decide what actions to take. Keeping this in mind people regardless make moral decisions based off their own personal interests whether it be for benefit of oneself or benefit for all. The two ideas from this chapter that caught my interest are the relationship between Ethical egoism and utilitarianism.
We have a freedom to choose between these two roads, but a voice will whisper, our conscience, and will tell and urges us which road to follow that is for the betterment of our welfare. Both ethics and morality must be objective, but somehow, some reasons were accepted because of the gravity of the situation. Like in a life and death situation. One must think critically to surpass and have these
Rather, it is based on standards at which we guide our behaviors and determine what should be done and what shouldn’t. Kant, one of the greatest philosophers who have discussed ethics, argues that acting in an ethical way requires differentiating between, “right” and “wrong” and then performing the right option. It is all about every individual’s view for a condition and the morality. Morality has a concern when it comes to norms, values, and beliefs that are embedded in social process. This defines right and wrong for an individual or a community.
If an act is to produce good consequences then it is portrayed as right, however, if the consequences do not benefit humans by conceiving some form of happiness then it is seen as wrong. Markham (2007) describes a consequentialist as ‘a person who insists that the goal of ethical action is to bring about the most desirable outcome’. He suggests that if we