Ethical decision making process essay

Ethical Decision-Making Model Paper Essay

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Ethics are not gained in one day. Ethics are built over time from experiences. From childhood to adulthood these learned behaviors add to traits that help shape an individual; they complete who one is and what one believes. Ethics guides individual’s understandings of the concepts of right and wrong. In everything one does, decision-making is involved. Work, school, home, and communications, ethical beliefs are challenged. Ethics guide one’s thought process for these challenges and help approach any situation long before it happens. Ethics are rules and standards governing the conduct in which one lives and makes life decisions. Building ethics is a learning process; the things one learns, as one grows, will govern and guide the rest of one’s life. Ethics are important to today’s society. Individuals tend to face stressful situations by ignoring ethics and doing their own thing. This is why ethics play a significant role in communication.

Ethical communication encompasses one being honest in all communications; keeping an honest and open opinions towards others. In some business situations, ethical communication involves keeping confidential information confidential, and not discussing personal business. In the more public the position, there is a greater need for ethical principles. Ethical communication help promote access to opportunities necessary to fulfill human potential; to help contribute to business, families, communities, and society in general. Ethical communications promote caring climates and mutual understandings that respect the unique needs and characteristics of every individual. It is being committed to courageous expression of personal convictions to pursuit fairness and justice. There are various forms of ethical decision-making processes. There is Aristotle’s Mean, Confucius’s Golden Mean, Kant’s Categorical Imperative, Islam’s Divine Command, Mill’s Principle of Utility, Rawls’s Veil of Ignorance, and Judeo-Christian Persons and Ends. A few personal favorites, Aristotle’s, Confucius’, and Mill’s process of thinking.

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Aristotle’s ethics fits deduces facts about the nature of the world and the nature of man by the use of reason. Aristotle’s ethics are an example of virtue ethics. Virtue ethics concentrates on the worth of the moral agent and not the consequences of his or her actions; “good cannot be identical for all men” (Learning activity — transcript ethics: what is right?, 2012). Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. Confucius’s Golden Mean is a golden rule; do not do to others what you do not wish for yourself. Mill’s process of thinking; “Mill believed that every individual has sovereignty over his or her own body, psyche and spirit” (Learning activity — transcript ethics: what is right?, 2012). Mill followed more of a utilitarianism method which proposed that this principle should be used mainly in determining the value of rules such as do not kill, do not lie, do not steal, and so forth.

The ethic process that I bleive to be better is John Stuart Mill’s. I choose Mill’s, because Mill believes that we as people have control over our actions and within our conscience minds, we know right from wrong. Mill’s Principle of Utility is the easiest for a majority of people to follow. It leads to morally sound decisions, handling moral dilemmas, and helps to make effective moral decisions. “The principle of utility determines the rightness of acts (or rules of action) by their effect on the total happiness” (Learning activity — transcript ethics: what is right?, 2012). For example, within everything one does decisions have to be made. Morally we know what it is right and wrong, because many individuals are brought up that way. In a business environment, every individual is personally responsible for themselves, for being honest, and respectful. As a worker, I follow not only my ethics but those of the company.

“All of our directors, officers and associates must conduct themselves accordingly and seek to avoid even the appearance of improper behavior” (Code of business conduct and ethics, 2015). For example, answering the phone we are to be polite and respectful throughout the entire phone call. Customers will call to ask questions if we have a certain product in stock or the product at all. I answered the phone and was asked if there were any karaoke radios in stock. I turned to my co-worker to ask her, she replied “Just tell them no.” I was shocked at her response. Instead of telling the customer no, I put them on hold and searched myself. I knew in my conscience mind it would be wrong for me not too. I would rather speak the truth (John Stuart Mills Utility) and avoid a communication dispute later.

Ethics and morals are crucial concepts in today’s world. Ethics are rules and standards governing the conduct in which one lives and makes life decisions. Ethics build traits that help shape an individual beliefs and help shape and understanding of right and wrong. Every day one’s ethics are challenged by work, school, home, and most importantly communication. It is important to understand how to react to a particular situation long before that situation happens. Building ethics and communication ethics is a learning process, but the things one learns, as one grows, will govern and guide the rest of one’s life. Living by John Stuarts Mill’s Utility can promote an environment every individual can live in of fairness and justice.

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What is Ethics?
Ethics incorporates the study of principles of good conduct and systems of moral values. It is known as standards of right and wrong that details what humans should do in terms of fairness, obligations, and benefits to society. When it comes to law enforcement, there are many ethical dilemmas that present itself during the course of routine policing. Through the process of repetition, tasks that once required a complex decision, have now become so routine that little to no thought is put into the outcome of it all. This in turn had led to numerous cases of ethical misconduct and unprofessional behavior amongst law enforcement thus requiring more ethical training and a second look into the ethical decision making process.
The Four Component Model
Making ethical decisions can be a lengthy process that can be an individual effort or one that involves people from all different levels. In order for an ethical decision making process to be effective, four main components must be considered. James Rest, who was an American psychologist during the 1980’s, specialized in these four components and developed a model that examined the ethical decision making process. His first component of the decision making model is awareness, in which the person faced with the decision, identifies a situational dilemma that is ethical in nature (Rest, 1986). He proposed that the key player or players involved need to be knowledgeable on the issue requiring attention and recognize that an ethical situation exist. This process sets the tone for the rest of the decision making process by gauging everyone’s feeling towards the situation. Understanding the seriousness of ethical dilemmas is very important when trying to streamline a process. Ensuring everyone on the decision making team is knowledgeable on the task at hand should be the first priority in order to understand why this process needs to take place. Based off of Rest’s model, the second component of his ethical decision making process is judgment and deals with taking into consideration the best course of action needed to justify the situation. This process involves identify the different options needed to address the current situation at hand. In addition this step also requires reasoning through potential consequences to determine which one will have the better outcome. The third component in Rest’s model is motivation. In order for the players involved to stay motivated everyone needs to have a positive and accepting attitude toward the lengthy process. Ethical decisions and situations can be a very sensitive topic and without positive energy, the individual thought process and or team dynamics can be hindered. The final component in Rests model is ethical action and involves determining the best way to implement the chosen decision and having the ability and confidence to execute it to completion.
Reflective vs Reactive Thinking
In addition to the knowledge and attitude factors, two types of thinking also need to be discusses during the decision making process. The two types of thinking are reactive and reflective. Reactive thinking involves the uses of trial and error, situational cues, and memory to come to a resolution when situations are familiar and quick thinking is required. These are usually the judgments calls that people make every day. When it comes to ethical situation, this type of thinking encourages superficial responses and can often lead to incident driven policing.
Ethical decision making policies are put in place to instruct law enforcement officers how to be less reactive and more proactive, preventing crime and disorder with community-based problem-solving strategies (Ortmeier, 2009). The reflective style of thinking on the other hand is more ideal when it comes to making ethical decisions. This style if thinking involves the use of critical thinking in unfamiliar situations, when planning and more comprehensive consideration is crucial. Reflective thinking encourages logical and rational decisions while reducing the probability of dangerous errors in judgment. Both methods of thinking are important when making decisions, however it is important to differentiate when one style would be better to use as oppose to the other.
Alternative Ethical Decision Making Processes
When it comes to decision making processes specific to law enforcement, there aren’t very many. However one of the most popular models used by law enforcement is the SARA (Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment) model. This model was one of the first well-documented large-scale demonstration projects introducing Problem Oriented Policing in the United States (Sidebottom, 2011). This model, unlike others, focus on the root causes of crime as oppose to traditional service calls. Often, during routine policing, officers are face with situations when ethical dilemma may come into play. Not always having other officers to rely on, quick thinking and problem solving will need to be an individual effort.
Scanning, which is the first step in this SARA model process, deals with identifying and prioritizing, recurring problems and the associated consequences, confirming that a problem exist and then developing goals for corrective action. During this process, law enforcement personnel are interacting with the people in the community and trying to get a better understanding of the current issues that may be present. Ethical decision making comes into play during this step by forcing officers to investigate all matters and not turn a blind eye to situation they may feel is not as important. The second step in the SARA model process is Analysis. During this stage law enforcement officers are focusing on identifying and understanding the events causing the issue, identifying relevant information needing further research, figuring out how the problem is currently being addressed if at all, narrowing the specific of the problem as close as possible, and seeking out any additional resources that may assist with understanding the problem. During this stage law enforcement are investigating problems and determining whether or not they warrant further attention. Response is the third stage of the SARA model and involves brainstorming for new ways to handle the problem, comparing the issues other communities have, outlining a response plan and identifying responsible parties and carrying out the planned activities. During this stage, law enforcement search for different solutions and then implementing the one with the better outcome. The final stage in the SARA model is Assessment. This is the stage where the qualitative and quantitative data is collected and deciding whether or not goals and specific objectives were attained (www. njlawman. com).
The interesting thing about the SARA model is how closely it relates to the Four Component Model. Each of the four components mirrors the four SARA stages in almost the exact order. Both the scanning and awareness stage involves gathering enough information about a subject to realize there is an issue that needs to be addresses. The judgement and analysis stage both require investigation into the issues and figuring the best approach to the next step which is the response and motivation phase. This third stage is the bridge between the investigation and implementation stage and in the final stages both assessment and action involve carrying out the mission to completion.
The Fish Bowl Profession
Of all the professions that exist, the one that seem to be surrounded the most by scandals is that of law enforcement field. This is mainly due in party by the fact that police officers are held to a higher standard than most other professions and are constantly being scrutinized by the public everyday whether or not they are on duty or off. The fact that ethical issues are so apparent within law enforcement should suggest the people who occupy these positions are only human and often make difficult choices like everyone else. What the society should realize is that ethics is a learned behavior that is molded by good leadership and personal experience and not every decision that is made is an easy one.

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Ethical Decision Making Essay

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Webbster´s Dictionary makes the following definitions

Ethic , system of moral standards , Ethical , conforming to moral and to professional standards of conducts Ethics , study of standards of conduct and moral judgment . The system of morals of a particular person , religion , group .

Kelman and Hamilton , 1989 ,

The authors state , that Ethical/Moral Issue , is present where a person’s actions , when freely and in conscious choice or decision is made, may harm or benefit or have consequences for others Ethical/Moral Agents , is a person who makes a moral decision , even though she or he may not recognize that moral issues are at stake . Ethical/ Moral Decision , decision that is both legal and morally acceptable to a larger community .

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Successful Managers Handbook , PDI , S Gebelein , LStevens , pg 318 , 320 , 321 Ethical Organization

An ethical organization is one that adheres to ethical rules and principles in all its actions , whether the actions are internal or external , written or spoken , at high level or low . Ethical organizations often have a written code of conduct , but more generally have well-grounded and widely understood principles and values that guide even the smallest decision or action

Leadership Challenge , Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner , Ch 2

According to the authors, the four characteristics that are more important to the group surrounding a leader , are : Honesty , Progressive , Inspiring and Competent . The research based on several thousand of interviews in 1987 and 1995 Honesty in both researches was selected as the number one characteristic that leader must have in order for people to trust and follow him , it speaks about being reliable , ethic and loyal to his principles . People will look for those conducts and evaluate also congruence in what they say and what they do

Successful Managers Handbook , PDI , S Gebelein , LStevens , pg , 579 , 580 Effective Leaders know what they stand for and follow their own values and ethics. They are willing to endure difficulty , take risks , and make themselves uncomfortable in order to live their values

There are many decisions models and Ethical decision model , but one easy way to provoke the Ethical/Moral revision of our actions in Periodically review your decisions and actions to ensure that they are consistent with your values As you make a decision , consider whether you would be comfortable appearing on national TV to justify it or comfortable explaining the decision to your children and family Make your rationale and position clear to others

When refusing a request , clearly explain to those involved why you cannot support them Seek advice and counsel of others . they may see the situation in a different way , identify more options and provide important insight Don’t overlook the people aspect of making tough decisions . be prepared to deal with other peoples reaction and to direct people to resources that will help them to deal with the impact of the decision Will my actions stand the test of time ? a year from now , will I be glad I ignored the problem or took the action I did ?

There are other models to follow , like Laura Nash and from the Josephson Institute of Ethics The Twelve Questions Model

Laura Nash, an ethics researcher, created the Twelve Questions Model as a simple approach to ethical decision making. Nash, L. (1981). Ethics without the sermon. Howard Business Review, 59 79–90, accessed February 24, 2012, http://www. cs. bgsu. edu/maner/heuristics/1981Nash. htm In her model, she suggests asking yourself questions to determine if you are making the right ethical decision. This model asks people to reframe their perspective on ethical decision making, which can be helpful in looking at ethical choices from all angles. Her model consists of the following questions :Nash, L. (1981). Ethics without the sermon. Howard Business Review, 59 79–90, accessed February 24, 2012,

1 Have you defined the problem accurately?

2 How would you define the problem if you stood on the other side of the fence?

3 How did this situation occur in the first place?

4 To whom and what do you give your loyalties as a person and as a member of the company?

5 What is your intention in making this decision?

6 How does this intention compare with the likely results?

7 Whom could your decision or action injure?

8 Can you engage the affected parties in a discussion of the problem before you make your decision?

9 Are you confident that your position will be as valid over a long period of time as it seems now?

10 Could you disclose without qualms your decision or action to your boss, your family, or society as a whole?

11 What is the symbolic potential of your action if understood? If miss understood?

12 Under what conditions would you allow exceptions to your stand? As you can see in this model, first an analysis of the problem itself is important. Determining your true intention when making this decision is an important factor in making ethical decisions. In other words, what do you hope to accomplish and who can it hurt or harm? The ability to talk with affected parties upfront is telling. If you were unwilling to talk with the affected parties, there is a chance (because you want it kept secret) that it could be the wrong ethical decision. Also, looking at your, actions from other people’s perspectives is a core of this model .

Some of the possible approaches to ethical decision making. No one model is perfect, so understanding all of the possibilities and combining them is the best way to look at ethical decision making.

Josephson Institute of Ethics’ Model

Josephson Institute of Ethics uses a model that focuses on six steps to ethical decision making. The steps consist of stop and think, clarify goals, determine facts, develop options, consider consequences, choose, and monitor/modify. . Figure 5.4 “An Example of Josephson’s Model when Dealing with the Ethical Situation of Downloading Music from Share Websites.” gives an example of the ethical decision-making process using Josephson’s model. Figure 5.4 An Example of Josephson’s Model when Dealing with the Ethical Situation of Downloading Music from Share Websites.

Ethics is not about rules is about Transparency, Trust, and Honesty

You will know that you are being unethical, doing wrong or abusing when :

You are consciously breaking rules , laws and codes . Written or not Persons , communities or places are being harmed or affected by environmental , economic , security conditions You will not openly talk about decisions you or your company are taking , with family , friends or colleagues You spend more time minimizing the economical , cultural , group impact of your decisions than maximizing the benefits of the decision


Situation 1 : Facilitating Decisions in the Middle East
On one side you have a very open position from the government , accepting the help of friends and relatives from the Minister to grant the contracts . Even when your company has not yet established a code of conduct , has formed a committee to consider one . The government of your country passed an ethical business practice act , that although vague , implies this kind of payment to be a violation . More important , ALL the executive group above you do not want to become involved . Therefor , I would NOT proceed with the bid , I would write a letter to my supervisor , expressing the implications of the bribe if our government finds out about the $200 k and also , I would meet with the Minister expressing the company policy , offering to work along in other projects or with technical support ,


Situation 3 :The Southeast Asian Advertising Campaign
You are new in the position . It is the advertising agency that is presenting for approval, the plan to introduce a new tire . The new tire is better is better than some local products , the tire is than competitors and has been successfully tested . Senior Management is expecting a favorable reception . The company has an ethical business act and a code of conduct I would push the advertising company to focus on the real advantages of the tire and express the benefit of buying an extraordinary tire that will cost less than the competitors . The test conditions of heat and humidity are technical , so I would express them in “small letters” as a disclosure in the advertisement . I would review the tire comparisons and advertising plans in my country of origin and in other parts of the world for this same tire . Also review past presentations where the Senior Management was involved and supportive .