Discussion: Ethics, Morals, And Power Differentials

When working with people in your community to solve complex social problems, it is important to be prepared to prevent ethical and moral issues that may arise. An ethical issue is any issue that violates the Ethical Standards for Human Services Professionals. Examples include imposing your own values or biases into discussions about how to solve a problem, failing to incorporate multicultural considerations into the solution, and engaging in dual relationships with service users who are adversely affected by the problem. A moral issue is any issue that conflicts with your own personal values or beliefs. For example, if the social problem is a lack of access to quality healthcare in a rural community, some practitioners may have a moral issue with doctors who refuse to accept Medicaid.

Practitioners must also be prepared to address power differentials that may be present when addressing a social problem. Power differentials often occur when there is a concentration of power among people in formal, high-level positions (e.g., public officials, legislators, executive directors of non-profits) and a lack of power among those who are most adversely affected by the problem (e.g., community residents, service users, etc.).

In this Discussion, you will consider how to prevent ethical and moral issues that may arise when solving the social problem that you selected for your Final Project. You will also examine how to address power differentials that may be present.

To Prepare
Review the Learning Resources on ethics, morals, and culture. Identify potential ethical and moral issues that may arise when solving the social problem that you selected for your Final Project. Then, consider how you could prevent these issues.
Review the Learning Resources on power. When solving the social problem that you selected, reflect on who has the power to make decisions and influence the outcome and who lacks the power to do so. Then, consider how you could minimize those power differentials.
Post a brief description of the social problem that you chose for your Final Project. Then, explain one ethical dilemma and one moral dilemma that could arise when solving the problem as well as the power differentials that may be present. Finally, explain how you would prevent the ethical and moral dilemmas and address the power differentials in your role as an advanced human services professional practitioner. Be sure to incorporate the Ethical Standards for Human Services Professionals into your explanation.

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