The personal is the organizational in the ethics of hospital social workers

Richard Walsh-Bowers, Amy Rossiter, Isaac Prilleltensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Understanding the social context of clinical ethics is vital for making ethical discourse central in professional practice and for preventing harm. In this paper we present findings about clinical ethics from in-depth interviews and consultation with 7 members of a hospital social work department. Workers gave different accounts of ethical dilemmas and resources for ethical decision making than did their managers, whereas workers and managers agreed on core-guiding ethical principles and on ideal situations for ethical discourse. We discuss the research team's initial interpretations, the relevance of the extant ethics literature to organizational structures and dynamics, and alternative perspectives on clinical ethics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-335
Number of pages15
JournalEthics and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical ethics
  • Organizational structures and dynamics
  • Social work ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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