Some give in to temptations that overtake their professional objectivity.If you are similar to most of your colleagues, you have already faced at least one ethical dilemma that required a decision and possibly action on your part.It is not our intention to trivialize the seriousness of the issues.
You may confront a situation that offers no choice but to make decisions with ethical implications under ambiguous circumstances.
Your own life may feel out of control (e.g., messy divorce, severe economic downturn, or addiction).
Some decisions will be easy because the guidelines are clear and the matter itself is inappropriate but no harm will likely result.
Others may be more difficult because the guidelines or circumstances are unclear and the wrong decision could carry consequences for others or yourself.
Earlier work, including some of our own, focused heavily on step-by-step prescriptions for arriving at a decision most likely to lead to the “best“ ethical outcome.
More recent writings stress how factors such as emotions, personal vulnerabilities, personality, and situational contexts influence how we make decisions, including ethical ones.
In short, those who faced ethical sanctions were largely hidden from public scrutiny.
Violators more easily dodged widespread humiliation and perhaps escaped long-term damage to their careers. More likely than not, the identities of those who incur a formal ethical violation are now available for public viewing on the Internet.
We do not wish to frighten readers, but we must communicate why ethical decision-making is more critical than ever to you as a practitioner.
Not that long ago complaints were handled in confidential forums.
Many professionals and state licensing boards publish the names of those who have been disciplined (sometimes including the entire record).