JERRY VAN HAMME
ETHICS: DECISION MAKING
The decision making process can sometimes be a difficult one. There are many factors that may go into the process of decision making. Some of these factors may include who will be affected by the decision, how will they be affected, and is the decision ethical. Many times it is not easy to know what is considered ethical or unethical when making decisions. For example, a client has been terminated by their employer. The client offers other forms of payment for their therapy sessions. This presents an ethical dilemma. Several ethical decision-making theories reviewed state or imply that reaching such decisions depends on the individual's perspective which may be based on personal influences such as family, friends and cultural background as well as on external factors such as the legal and regulatory environment surrounding the issue in contention. The personal factors involved may require the individual to evaluate their own convictions and objectively analyze their own opinions as the decision process progresses. Persons in positions of perceived power may exert influence on the individual also affecting the decision. A personal economic perspective that considers the rewards of an ethical decision against the emotional and physical costs of the decision may cause the decision maker to evaluate the impact of the decision differently. While working through the process of making an ethical decision, individuals may be swayed by the proximity of others involved and the impact of the decision. Finally, religion, personal integrity, honesty, trust and judgment come into play as the individual must ultimately reach the conclusion on his or her own terms. Even though it appears that there may be many factors influencing one's ethical decisions, the question remaining is what specific...