Moral and Ethical Dilemmas in Canadian Forces Military Operation – Qualitative and Descriptive Analyses of Commanders Operational Experiences

Dilemmes moraux et éthiques dans le cadre des opérations militaires des Forces canadiennes – Analyses qualitatives et descriptives des expériences opérationnelles des commandants


  1. Thompson, M.M.
  2. Thomson, M.H.
  3. Adams, B.D.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN);Humansystems Inc, Guelph ONT (CAN)
Military operations have always held the potential for the encountering of moral dilemmas by military personnel. The current research involved secondary data analyses of an intensive interview study of Canadian Forces senior officers, each of whom had confronted a moral dilemma (i.e., situations or circumstances in which at least two core values are in conflict) during a deployment. Each interview was coded for evidence of central conceptual frameworks from the moral and ethical decision making literature, including the number and nature of the dimensions of moral intensity, and moral emotions, as well as for evidence of counterfactual thinking (i.e., ‘what if’ or ‘if only’ statements describing imagined alternatives to an actual outcome). Although commonly used in the moral and ethical decision making literature, there have been few applications of these models to the military domain, and virtually none that has applied all of these frameworks to first-hand accounts of moral dilemmas. Finally this work explores the extent to which these accounts reveal psychological resolution concerning these moral and ethical dilemmas, and the extent to which psychological resolution is associated with particular moral intensity dimensions moral emotions and counterfactual thinking.

Il y a un résumé en français ici.

moral and ethical dilemmas;commanders;moral intensity dimensions;moral emotions;counterfactual thinking
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-TR-2008-183 — Technical Report
Date of publication
21 Dec 2008
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

Permanent link

Document 1 of 1

Date modified: