Ethical Dilemma: Foley Case Study

Ethical Dilemma: Foley Case Study

An ethical dilemma is usually a situation where an individual has to make an acceptable decision between the two or among several conflicting choices. When compelled with these situations, a person is expected to employ the most appropriate approach that will lead to desirable outcomes. The first step to overcome the ethical dilemma is understanding how to make reasonable decisions through a systematic approach. Foley faces an ethical dilemma on the best course of action to take when faced with a situation that requires the most suitable decision.  She does want to argue against her CEO, and she feels that the transfer of the hospital to the for-profit organization will affect her personal life as well the nearby community relying on the institution.  

Situation and Ethical Dilemma Foley faces

Foley faces the two main situations: she does want to argue against her CEO, and she feels that the sale of the hospital to the for-profit organization will affect her personal life as well as the community. The dilemma facing Foley is that she is not sure whether she should support her CEO on the decision to sell the hospital. Foley’s CEO expects her to support him and Foley sees it as a right thing to do because he has recently promoted her. However, Foley feels that she was employed to offer her best services to the organization and advising her CEO not to have the hospital acquired is one of her roles. On the other hand, Foley feels that she will compromise her personal life including that of her family once she goes with her CEO decision.

Foley’s Main Arguments

Foley’s main argument is that the consultant was wrong to advise that the financial crisis facing the hospital could be solved by selling it to a for-profit organization.  Foley is not sure whether the financial figures have been manipulated or the possibility of hefty figures influenced the CEO to buy the consultant’s recommendation. Foley argument may be reasonable because the CEO lacked other reliable sources.  Foley was also concerned with the closure of the hospital since it will affect the consumers. First, the client will be left with only one service provider, and secondly, the prices of the services will increase. Foley also fears that some of the services provided by the hospital will be cut once the hospital is bought. For example, the hospital was the only institution offering mental healthcare in the region, and its closure will mean the removal of the important healthcare service to the community. Foley wondered that community services and charitable offerings would be cut.

Foley’s Levers/Arguments to check her own Reasoning and Motivation

Foley’ should check her reasoning from the perspective of the component of moral action. The most suitable model that Foley should use to check her reasoning is moral sensitivity or recognition model. Moral sensitivity is the first step of ethical decision making, and it helps the individual to understand the existing problem (Johnson, 2017). According to Johnson, many moral failures result from ethical insensitivity. For example, an individual or organization may fail to act on a certain issue because it may appear valueless. Foley can use this standpoint to influence the CEO on the need to disregard the consultant advice to have the hospital sold.
Once Foley has identified the best of course of action to apply, she should be motivated by the need to preserve the services offered by the hospital for the benefit of the community. Foley can cement her argument by arguing that the financial crisis facing the hospital cannot be compared with human lives. Selling the hospital will mean increased healthcare cost for the community. Foley can give an example of Ford Motor as cited by Johnson (2017, p. 236) that failed to repair defective gas tank on the Pinto automobile because it was concerned more on profits than human lives. Using the Ford Motor example, Foley should advise the CEO that the institution should focus on looking on an alternative solution to end the financial problem rather than selling it.
The CEO’s decision as Foley’s approach lacks moral sensitivity and as a result, their acts are biased. Lincoln & Holmes (2011) argued that problem recognition requires the individual to consider how their behaviors will affect others. The CEO is only focused on rescuing the financial situation of the hospital without putting into consideration how employees and the community that depend on the hospital services will be affected. On the other hand, as much as Foley is concerned with the community is also worried about her situation once the hospital is acquired by another institution. Jagger (2011) argued that personal interests could affect decision making in ethical dilemma situations. Foley feels that her family will be disrupted and as a result, she is disturbed on how she will approach her CEO to save the situation. Foley does not also put into consideration the pity financial state facing the hospital which is negatively affecting other stakeholders as well as delivery of services to the clients.Comparing the two individuals, the CEO is the most biased because he seems not to understand how other stakeholders will be affected and as such he is unable to predict the adverse outcomes of his decision. In the same note, Foley can be said to be acting from the perspective of ethical fading. According to Johnson (2017), ethical fading occurs when an individual believes that they are acting morally when in the real sense they are not. Her disputation of the consultant advice to transfer hospital under the management of another institution is not backed by any evidence.

What Foley should do and say and to whom when and how

Inarguably, Foley should act; however, her action should be in line with moral sensitivity. Johnson (2017) suggested steps that a person should take before acting on the ethical dilemma issue. Some of the strategies proposed by Johnson are assuming the role-playing, designing other alternatives, assessing whether the situation has moral implications, solving the problem from the moral perspective, avoiding misbehavior, acknowledging personal responsibility and showing openness and humility to diverse views. With the above steps, Foley can arrange for an informal meeting with the CEO and suggest what she thinks are the best alternatives that can be used in place of the consultant’s recommendation.
Foley can also offer her solutions to the current financial issues facing the institution by tabling them during the formal meeting attended by the hospital’s senior management team. Instead of directly confronting the CEO, Foley can argue that after thinking for the issue at hand for a while, she has found it not a good idea not to sell the hospital considering that many people will be affected. Foley should proceed by noting that it is essential for the senior management team to put themselves in the position of those who will be affected including the community members and the employees. So, instead of selling the hospital the senior management should look for an alternative solution. It is at this point where Foley should offer her solutions including requesting the CEO to get another financial consultant who will advise the company on the best alternatives to overcome the money problems.

Response to Reasons and Rationalizations

Johnson (2017) outlined some of the reasons that people who are facing ethical dilemmas can offer to justify their decision. Similarly, Foley can use these rationalizations to support her position on why the hospital should be kept running. For example, she can argue that the selling of hospital will cause significant harm to the community, employees and other stakeholders who are directly affected by the institution. Secondly, Foley can point out that there is a social agreement between the institution and the community, and therefore, transferring the hospital to the profit-making organization will dishonor that contract. Thirdly, the selling of the hospital will cause more harm to the community than the potential benefits. Fourthly, the action will have immediate consequences to the clients including community members seeking mental healthcare from the facility. Fifthly, the hospital had developed social and psychological closeness with the community so cutting its services will negatively the community members. Finally, Foley’s argument should show that a specific segment of the community especially the ones receiving routine healthcare will greatly suffer once the institution is sold.
It is apparent that Foley is facing an ethical dilemma and as such she has a responsibility to act on the best way possible. The CEO’s decision to act on the recommendation of the consultant puts Foley in conflicting situations. However, as Foley prepares to offer her decision to the CEO, she should act the best way that will lead to desirable outcomes. Foley’s decision will be best if it is in line with the premises of moral sensitivity.

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