An ethical dilemma is a situation that requires a choice between equally unfavorable outcomes.  This usually occurs when two parties have opposing or mutually exclusive goals.

decision crossroads

The catch, though, is that the situation would not be considered a dilemma by an individual or party that has no regard for the others involved.  That’s where the “ethical” part comes in.  Only when each party understands and appreciates that his actions have consequences for others (which may or may not be favorable), can he begin making ethical decisions..

When facing an ethical dilemma (as defined above), choosing cooperation over competition is about more than just risk management.  The decision to compete results in a one-sided win for one party, and a one-sided loss for others.  This means, then, that those who decide to compete are (as a means to an end) seeking a one-sided loss for their opponent.

Which is unethical, right?  Breaking down the two sides:

  • Wanting to win is natural – and there’s nothing wrong with it.
  • But wanting others to loose when it was possible for both sides to win is really just mean.

That’s why ethics are not as nebulous as they sometimes seem – the ethical decision is the one that provides the greatest gain for the greatest number of people (it also minimizes risk for all involved).

Which isn’t to say that slow and steady wins the race (because that’s totally not true), but maybe there is no race at all.  Maybe it’s just about sustainability through minimizing risk and maintaining relationships – sustaining the market as well as your place within it.

What Would You Do?What Would You Do? A Game of ethical and Moral Dilemma is a soft skills training game designed to make participants aware of, and attentive to, ethics in the decision-making process.

What Would You Do illustrates the benefits of cooperation and collaboration – it allows participants to experience the process of ethical decision making and its effects over time.  Using the tried and true “Prisoners’ Dilemma” as a starting point, What Would You Do highlights the inescapable consequences of individual choices – the ecosystem of business.

Let your team experience the positive results of collaboration – try What Would You Do today!

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