Ethical Dilemma

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Ethical Dilemma

Central Facts

As the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Beyond Poverty (BP), a nongovernmental organization with operations in North America, Africa, and Asia, I am committed to ensuring that every needy person lives a dignified life. The company has bestowed upon me immeasurable powers to act on its behalf; something that I take seriously in both my private and public live. For this reason, I have an ardent passion for principality to ensure that I always make decisions that foster the interests of all our stakeholders. In fact, besides my incorruptible leadership skills, the other reason why the company hired me for this position is because of my inflexible commitment to noble ethical standards. As a result, the company’s directors have an unwavering faith in me. Even when faced with any dilemma, they believe I am the best suited person they can ask to forge the best alternative that will not bring the entire company problems. Hence, my overarching commitment towards all people living a dignified life is informed by the mission, goals, and objectives of BP.

During my tenure as the CEO I have handled many tricky situations. However, by making reference to the ethical principles of the company, I have encountered very minimal difficulty in solving them appropriately. Therefore, the current dilemma that requires me to decide on how to spend a $1 Million grant given to my company is not a big challenge. Foremost, we were given this grant to help resettle people who had been displaced by an unexpected fire. Regardless of each person’s status or background, they were all tormented by the same fire and they all had their properties and houses destroyed. Therefore, there is no doubt that each of them is willing to get help from anybody who is in a position of helping. Nonetheless, it is very difficult to determine the level of help each person requires since some of them have insurances for their homes and properties while others do not have. Furthermore, as one of the first interveners into the problem, it is difficult for us to forecast accurately the number of all the agencies that are willing to intervene to help these people. Knowing them will help us to either forge a partnership that will give the best form of humanitarian aid to the victims, or help us determine their target beneficiaries and the level of help they are willing to offer to them.

In spite of the dynamics regarding the level of help each victim may require, the organization that issued the grant to us did not impose any conditions on how it should be utilized. Consequently, BP has the liberty to decide how to exploit the funds prudently. In doing so, it must ensure that it conducts the exercise in a manner that excites the recipients and all other interested stakeholders such as local authorities, community leaders, and friends and relatives. Satisfying all the stakeholders will not only improve the image of BP, but it will also improve that of the granter. The latter will also feel contented because the money issued has been put into good use. Moreover, and most importantly, excellent utilization of the grant will strengthen the relationship between BP and the donor. In future, a good relationship might influence implementation of other equally important programs together.

Key Assumptions

Assumptions are important because they help an interested party to contemplate what to expect in a real situation. After the reality of a fire that destroyed properties and houses, one must begin by pondering what all the interested stakeholders are thinking. There are five major stakeholders in this quagmire, including: fire victims, friends and relatives, insurance companies, BP, and the donor.  As the CEO of BP, my first assumption is that the fire victims and the children are in need of immediate help, especially about the provision of shelter and food. Based on this assumption, my first decision will be to issue an order to use the first funds to hire temporary houses for the homeless families. Secondly, I will direct food materials, blankets and mattresses to be distributed to the occupants of the new shelters. By availing the victims these materials, I will temporarily halt their continued suffering.

My second assumption is that the people who are best placed to help the fire victims are their close friends and relatives. As a result, I will request them to come forward and be ready to host those who cannot be able to reside in the temporary houses. In addition, I will demand those among them who cannot be able to provide adequately for the new household members to request for financial help from BP. Besides asking friends and relatives to host the victims, I will also request those among them who are capable of contributing monetarily or in any other way that can complement our mission to do so to our company.

By asking for more help from friends and relatives, my core assumption will be that the $1 Million given to us by the donor might not be sufficient and it will not be good if we stall our plans due to depletion of funds. However, all the new funds will be recorded appropriately and all the activities they will be used for will be documented separately. As a consequence, both BP and the donor will be able to know what the initial fund will attain at the conclusion of the program.

In my last assumption I presuppose that the even though the superficial impact of the fire on the victims was uniform, its impact on the financial situation of each household is different. Hence after giving the victims a temporary shelter, I will initiate a fair empirical study that will determine the financial situation of each household. The variables that I will use will include insurance status, job status, age, and the extent of damage. Those with insurance for their houses will automatically be excluded from the initial program to reconstruct or to repair the houses. However, their financial capability will determine how our company will give them as upkeep. Similarly, those with formal and well paying jobs will be issued limited funds for their temporal upkeep as they wait to recover. However, the elderly and other needy people who do not have formal source of income will be given more funds as upkeep.

Ethical Issues

            The main ethical principle that I will use to come up with my decision is the Kant’s categorical imperative. Under this principle, a person perceives himself or herself as a maker of universal law (Carroll and Buchholltz 11). This principle also demands that a person should act on regulations that he or she could prefer others to follow. Similarly, I will formulate the decision to have each person compensated on a level of need basis because I believe it is the best decision I would prefer any other person to make. The other ethical principles that will complement my primary decision will be fairness and Rawl’s principles of justice. I will use the principle of fairness to ensure that the recipients targeted by my donor have an input on the decisions that I will make. That is the reason why I propose a study to be conducted so that they can reveal their general financial information and level of need. On the other hand, Rawl’s principles of justice will help me to establish how to solve the social and economic inequalities of the fire victims.


            Fire victims: The fire victims are the most essential players in this dilemma. There interest is mainly to have their houses and properties back. Furthermore, the issue of time is very critical to them because they want to go back to their old life as fast as possible. For this reason, all the other stakeholders in this issue should act quickly and decisively to ensure that they are comfortable. However, for other stakeholders to help them, they must also render their cooperation so that they can receive appropriate help.

Insurance companies: After the fire finished destroying the houses, automatically insurance companies became interested parties in this conundrum. It is the prerogative of the fire victims who have covers for their houses or properties to seek immediate compensation. Similarly, the insurance firms should move speedily to ensure their customers do not languish in the cold for too long. They should also be ready to cooperate with humanitarian agencies like BP that are willing to help the victims by providing information on those who are insured.

Friends and relatives: The role of friends and relatives is very important because they are the first people who the fire victims will first seek help from. Therefore, they will provide temporary shelter to some of the victims before other agencies step in. Moreover, they will help complement the help coming from donors by giving their personal contributions to the humanitarian agencies like BP.

BP: My organization’s role in this issue will be basically as an intermediary. We shall ensure that the donor funds are put into the best possible use. We will also be ready to cooperate with all other organs that will be interested in the situation to ensure that there is no duplication of roles. Lastly, to ensure that there is prudent use of the donor funds, we will establish the level of need of each victim to ensure that everyone is compensated appropriately.

The donor: The main interest of the donor in this issue is to see that all the fire victims are resettled in a humane manner. That is the reason why they entrusted BP with their grant so that it could be put into good use. Therefore, they will be interested to see the program of BP and establish if it meets their objectives. If any anomaly arises they will have the liberty to give clarifications about the utility of the fund.


            Universal compensation: This alternative was the easiest to make because it just required me to allocate the $1 Million fund equally to each of the affected households. However, this formula proved inadequate because it did not promote the principle of social inequality. Therefore, after examining this fault I dropped it.

House construction: Similarly, this option was easy to make since the main subject is destruction of houses and properties. As a nongovernmental institution, engaging in house construction will consume a lot of time for us. Furthermore, the likelihood of insurance companies chipping in to compensate some of the households, I predicted we will duplicate some roles. Consequently, I dropped this alternative.


Carroll, Archie B., and Ann K. Buchholtz. “Ethics sustainability and stakeholder management.” Cengage Learning (2012).



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