Ethical dilemmas in social work and theories

Topics: Sociology, Ethics, Social work Pages: 5 (1844 words) Published: August 21, 2014
ETHICAL DILEMMA in social work
This essay will address the ethical dilemmas faced by social workers and how they address these ethical dilemmas when working with service users and carers. It will be illustrated that codes of practice and codes of ethics are of paramount importance when dealing with these dilemmas as they are ones that guide social workers as to how they should try and solve these dilemmas. Social workers encounter ethical dilemmas every day during their work. Banks, in her explanations says these are occurrences whereby a social worker encounters two unwelcoming situations and there is a conflict of moral values, and there is no clear choice as to which decision to make.(Banks, 2006).To elaborate on this , Banks implies social workers are always in positions where they have to solve personal and at times difficult and painful issues as well as ethical judgements about welfare of service users. This is a huge challenge to social workers as these decisions may be life changing to service users, hence decisions taken have to be justified with valid reasons. Facts alone cannot determine decisions to be taken, hence ‘it would be impossible to make choices without values’(Beckett, Maynard 2005:7).Social workers need to have a strong value base when practising. It is , however possible for personal values of a social worker to clash with those of her professional ones, and in this case problems may arise. Banks refers to this occurrence as ‘conflict of moral values’ (Banks, 2006:13).Although it is essential for social workers to always follow professional values when personal values clash with them, personal values cannot be erased completely but these need to be kept under scrutiny and ‘kept under review, and be open to other arguments and other ideas’ (Beckett, Maynard 2005; 17). On the other hand social workers use different theories to inform practice. Deontology, also referred to as Kantism is a theory derived from ideas of Kant(1724-1804), a philosopher .His belief was people ‘should be treated as an end and not as a means to an end(REF……)He meant people deserve respect and have to be valued a individuals, not to be used so others benefit. He believed everybody should be treated equally. His ideology was to let go of people s religious views and consider rationality as paramount. Rationality, he believed, make people aware and have a deeper understanding of their duties and how their duties enlighten what they do to the world (Parrot, 2010).One of the most important principle of social work, self-determination, is part of deontological view. Self-determination is a right, and part of what it means to be human, and hence we have the basic moral duty to respect and promote (Beckett, Maynard, 2005). In Lola s case if the student social worker were to use deontological perspective to make a decision she will have to value Rajiv as a person .The theory s main contents is respect for people (Beckett , Maynard, 2005).This point of respect is in agreement with the British association of Social Workers (BASW) code of ethics, which points that social workers should have respect for human dignity, value for every human being their beliefs, goals, preferences and needs and respect for human rights and self-determination (BASW 2010).Also the Human Rights Act (1998)is in direct line with the idea of deontology as well. The social worker s role is to advocate for people like Rajiv by trying to obtain the respect due to them as persons rather than just seen as problems (Beckett, Maynard, 2005).Kant criticised the utilitarian ideology since it allows people to sacrifice a person for the sake of the majority, if there was proof the benefit of the majority would profit the sacrifice done to that one individual (Beckett, Maynard, 2005). One other theory social workers use is consequentialism, and these a group of theories whose idea is ‘what determines the rightness or otherwise of an action is whether the consequences of...
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