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Welcome to week 2

In this article, Doctor Mollie Painter introduces this week's key topic; What is a dilemma?
Person reading a newspaper, their face is obscured by the paper.
© Roman Kraft on Unsplash
Hi, and welcome to week 2! This week we will be exploring the types of situations that place leaders in a difficult situation in terms of taking values-driven action. These kinds of situations often involve dilemmas, or values-conflicts. We will be exploring what a dilemma is, and how to best deal with it.

Dilemmas manifest in at least two ways, i.e. when two values are in conflict with one another, or when a stakeholder may be harmed. One of the most recent cases of a dilemma occurred during Covid: it can be described as the LIVES versus LIVELIHOODS dilemma. In making decisions about lockdowns, governments had to decide whether protecting people’s health and ultimate lives, especially the lives of vulnerable populations, was more important than protecting the livelihoods of businesses that lost productivity or had to close doors, causing suffering to both the owners, employees and other stakeholders such as customers and suppliers. No matter which of these two equally important considerations one prioritises, someone may be harmed, or a value (such as protection of health, or the freedom to produce and consume) may be compromised.

Can you think of an example of a dilemma that you have faced in your own personal life? Save this for the next step…

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