At the time I worked as a custodian in a department store, I was faced with an ethical dilemma of whether accepting a bribe from a colleague of higher position to manipulate cash transactions in her favor. This was of course an issue for me since I knew manipulating business transactions is unethical and wrong, more so that it involves the company’s resources. However, I realized I really did not have to ‘think it through’. I instantly said no, that I absolutely could not do it because I knew it was an absolutely dishonest act.
My colleague just shrugged and I thought maybe he was used to such a reaction. People decide differently. When faced with such situation, it would be just normal that two different persons would come up with different decisions, probably either going with what the ‘boss’ wants or going against it. This may be because of different beliefs, of which is the right thing to do; or different needs, probably experiencing dire need of money; or maybe even a feeling of powerlessness compared to the boss.
An ethical issue such as the situation presented above may entail, for some, deep thinking of what is righteous or not; or with regards to what decision to take when faced with such a ‘choice’. Basically, we know that the society decides what is immoral or not. It is the society’s norms, which refer to what is unethical or not. But is it the person himself who determines what is right. Some people believe some things are right, others believe otherwise. It all depends on the person.
Even the ‘rightfulness’ of what is right has always been a question between different cultures with different beliefs and principles. Despite the gift of intellect and rationality, sometimes humans still fail to perform a reasoned judgment of ethical issues, instead fall prey to gut reactions or immediate and ignorant decisions. This may be probably due to the person’s attitudes, how gullible he is, or not, to such ethical situations; the environment or society he grew up in; how ‘imbibed’ choosing between right and wrong is on the person; and his personal decisions as well.