Management ethics and social responsibility in aged services

Master of Health Science – Aged Services

Unit : Management Ethics and Social Responsibility in Aged Services

Requirement : The ethical dilemma should be related to aged people

Assignment must include some of the ethical theories consequentilism, deonological , utilitarian, virtues ethics etccc

Readings will be provided


Due Date — Friday 11 th April 2014

Weighting 30%

Case outline and discussion 1500 words

The case study approach to ethical dilemmas is detailed below.

Students are required to write an outline of an ethical dilemma presented to them in their own workplace, home or community (Related to aged people). In addition, they will give an analysis of, and discuss the dilemma according to the attached ethical case study guidelines and reference to the literature.


A case study is an exercise designed to assist the investigator to understand a problem by gathering relevant information and proposing a possible solution. “Case Study” for the purposes of this assessment task is to select and describe a situation related to an ethical problem. You may like to choose a case from your own work place, home or community.

Suggestions for structuring your case study:

Van Hooft et al (1995) developed a strategy for ethical decision-making (See week 4 Further Reading). Please read this and you can apply this strategy to your case. This ethical decision-making strategy is a framework for thinking, which assists in making a rational or reasonable choice, in contrast to making a guess or acting on ‘gut feeling.’ It is a framework that applies to practical situations and to ethical problems by giving special consideration of an ethical nature, at each step of the decision-making process. This strategy assists you to identify constraints and the criteria for a good solution.

Problem solving in ethical decision-making is more complex than ordinary problem solving and often there will be no clear-cut or generally agreed outcomes. Although competence in ethical decision-making does not mean always producing the one and only right answer to the problem, it does, however, mean arriving at a reasonable decision, which is sensitive to the relevant features of the situation. It is a decision which has been made thoughtfully and which you can explain to others, giving reasons for adopting this solution rather than the other possible solutions, which were open to you.


1. Define the problem. A common mistake is to think of a problem as an ethical one but then to try to solve it as though it were a legal or a bureaucratic one. It is important to formulate the problem so that it is clearly an ethical one and try to solve it according to ethical considerations. Matters of law or nursing home policy may come into the process, but they are not the overriding considerations.

2. Gather information. Identify information that is missing, uncertain or misrepresented?

3. Identify constraints. This step needs special attention in ethical problem solving. Some constraints rule out certain solutions. Different views about constraints are one of the sources of disagreement in ethical decision-making. Think about the kinds of constraint that impact upon your decision-making process

4. Generate possible solutions/courses of action. Requires creative thinking. One important possibility to keep in mind is non-action or non-intervention.

5. Identify criteria for judging best solution. This can be largely personal and subjective in ordinary problem solving for example, personal taste or personal opinion. Be aware that the criteria for deciding what counts as an ethically good solution is somewhat more fixed than this. If the decision is to be an ethically sensitive and a reasonable one, the criteria used must represent a set of generally accepted ethical values.

6. Evaluate possible solutions/courses of action according to ethical concepts and principles. This is not always straightforward, because the precise meaning and application of a principle is not always evident for example, beneficence.