Every day, you make a host of ethical decisions which are a reflection of your character and of the firm you lead or with which you are affiliated.
Many of the situations you experience are handled in an intuitively ethical way based upon your understanding of right and wrong. Your conscience automatically censors wrong decisions if you are temporarily weighing ethical options.
There are other life situations which are not quite so clear. It is in these situations where analytical skills allow you to define and capture the essence of the problem and sort out the appropriate solution(s).
Undertaking Ethics is first a self-study program intended to provide you with guidelines specifically dealing with funeral service. It is entitled "Manual of Professional Practice."
Immediately following the manual guidelines is a general discussion, "Common Sense and Everyday Ethics," written by Ivan Hill. The Ethics Resource Center, Inc., 1120 G Street, N.W., Suite 200, Washington, D.C. 20005 has granted the Funeral Ethics Association the right to reprint portions of their helpful booklet "Common Sense and Everyday Ethics." To order complete copies, write to them or call their offices at (202) 737-2258. Copies are about $2 each. We are grateful to the Ethics Resource Center for their contribution to "Undertaking Ethics."
After you have read the "Manual of Professional Practice" and the ethics segments, you will have reinforced your ethical decision making abilities and will be ready to participate in the game portion of "Undertaking Ethics."
There are some sample case studies which require you to evaluate and choose the best solution among four choices.
Read the case, select and circle the best solution. Note the following examples:
61 A B C D The funeral director needs to disclose the situation to the family.
62 A B C D The funeral director should apologize rather than skirt the issue.
Game scores will be based upon your solution selections as well as your explanation. So, think through each case.
In some instances more than one solution will appear correct. Choose the best one. In other cases you may not find an acceptable solution. Life is sometimes like that. Choose the least objectionable solution in these few cases.
There will be four categories of grades ranging from scoundrel, to straight shooter, highly principled model and candidate for ombudsman! At the scoundrel level, your exam and an alternate exam will be returned to you for improvement. Hundreds of exams have been graded with over 90% passing and earning credit the first time.
To derive the most insight and fun, get together with others in the firm, funeral director and embalmer friends or other licensees.
You can use "Undertaking Ethics" as an independent home study program, too. Before deciding, do consider the benefits of joint debate on some of the most challenging cases, taking into account that viewpoints other than your own will make the game even more challenging.
The Funeral Ethics Association expresses thanks and appreciation to the Martin Marietta Corporation for its permission to adapt its "Gray Matters - The Ethics Game," from aerospace ethical situations to those which affect funeral service. The Martin Marietta Corporation and its ethics department provided insightful explanations on how they used a game concept to elevate employee awareness on the company's most important ethical issues. Special thanks to Mr. George Sammet, Martin Marietta's ombudsman and manager of their ethics' department. Enjoy the program and game.
If you are interested in belonging to the Funeral Ethics Association and receiving a complete copy of the book "Undertaking Ethics" and game, write to the Funeral Ethics Association, 215 South Grand Avenue West, Springfield, Illinois 62704.