Postulate the (hypothetical or real) best- and worst-case outcomes of this dilemma as you see them.

· Summarize the ethical dilemma you encountered in your organization.

I have encountered an ethical dilemma while working for Walgreens a few years ago. My manager consistently caught customers stealing out of the store. After forcing them to remove everything from underneath their clothes, he would then add a few expensive items to make it seem as if the thief stole an excessive amount when the police arrived. Yes, it is wrong to steal but it is also wrong to be dishonest. When asked to see cameras, the police were told that they weren’t working at the time. As for the customer, they ended up going to jail for far more than what they intended if caught. I could have easily prevented this from happening but was too afraid to do so.


· Which of Kohlberg’s stages of moral development is represented in your example? Be sure to justify your reasoning for your choice. Do you think that one of the other theories of moral development better describes your example? Why?

Kohlberg believed that “most moral development occurs through social interaction. Individuals develop as a result of cognitive conflicts emerging through those interactions”. I believe Kohlberg’s Pre-conventional stage 1: Punishment and obedience was represented in my example. At the time, I knew it was wrong, but I feared that if I spoke up I would be punished for it. I also worried about what my co-workers would think of me, how I would get treated, or even me risking my job. The last thing I wanted people to think was that I was taking up for a criminal or had anything to do with the situation. I also didn’t want any tension at my place of work for simply not going along with the flow of things. So, I chose to remain quiet like everyone else for the sake of my sanity and job. I don’t think any of the other theories better describes my example because the one I chose expressed exactly how I felt at the moment.

· Postulate the (hypothetical or real) best- and worst-case outcomes of this dilemma as you see them.

The best case outcome would have been to pull my manager to the side to discuss the ethical dilemma, explain how uncomfortable it is to witness it, and to see if we can come to some type of agreement to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The worst case outcome would have been to snitch on my boss in front of the police and prove to them that the cameras actually do work.


Kohlberg, L. (1981). The philosophy of moral development: Moral stages and the idea of justice. New York, NY: Harper & Row.