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Ethical Decision Making In The Work Place

Scenario: You are a new officer and just finished your shift. One of the firefighters’ scheduled to work today has called in sick. You have him replaced. On the way home you stop at the local home supply store to get some gardening supplies. On the way out of the store you see the firefighter who called in sick. He has a load of wood that he is returning to the store.

What would you say or do, if anything?

This hypothetical scenario of workplace dilemma arises often and the way it is handled could have a major impact on one’s career and personal relationship as well as on the vital twin assets of reputation and credibility.

Recently society has been deluged with bad decisions by talented, multi- millionaires like Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Brittany Spears, Lindsey Lohan and a parade of politicians, priests, police officers, firefighters, corporate executives and college coaches.

And it’s not only the bad people who make bad decisions. If we are not vigilant, any one of us can find ourselves compromising our principles in a moment controlled by impulses like self-indulgences, fear, self-interest or ambition.

Good intentions and moral rhetoric are no match for a strong temptation and our capacity to rationalize. We must fortify our moral aspirations and our ethical leadership with both discipline and good judgment.

Most will say the firefighter you saw at the home supply store made a poor decision. Some would say it’s no big thing. It happens all the time. Some would say it wasn’t the right thing to do but take no action and some will say it wasn’t the right thing to do and take action. I believe most of us would say the firefighter made a poor and unethical decision. When he was observed at the home supply store he and you were put in an uncomfortable situation. He abused the department sick leave policy and probably violated the departments’ rules and regulations. His decision could lead to some type of discipline. And the reality of the decision is-- it was just not right.

How do you feel about the firefighters decision and what would you do about it? Let us know.

Read more by Chief Paul H. Stein at www.expert-fire-witness.com

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