Ethical Decision Making In Business

Topics: Ethics, Decision making, Morality Pages: 4 (1184 words) Published: November 27, 2006
The term often used to describe the system or principles by which we choose right from wrong is ethics. Conflicts in ethics arise when one person or a group of people impede the beliefs of another person or group of people. It would not be possible to decide who is right or wrong when a conflict arises, but it is our moral responsibility to resolve the dilemmas to the best of our ability. This paper is going to explore the topic of ethical decision-making and establish ground rules for the process and analyze possible ethical implications that may arise. What are the ground rules?

Making an ethical decision, at times, can be extremely difficult, as emotions tend to hinder ones judgment. For example, if a husband came upon his wife being beat to death, his first impulse would likely be to bring as much pain to the attacker as the attacker brought to his wife. On the other hand, the husband would know that would not be the ethical thing to do. For that reason, the process of making an ethical decision should be similar to making a normal decision. There are five possible steps that can be taken in order to ensure an ethical and reasonable decision.

The first step is to clarify the issue and determine precisely what must be decided. This involves gathering as much information as possible and clearly recognizing the problem. At this step, one should be forced to develop at least three ethically justifiable options and determine which ethical principles and values are involved (Five Steps, 2001).

The next step is to evaluate the issue. Evaluation involves exploring the options created in step one and realizing if they require the sacrifice of any ethical principle. Evaluation would also involve deciphering facts from beliefs and theories, or past experiences. When a person is emotionally involved, as the man was in the example above, all commonsense tends to fade. The evaluation step forces a person to ensure they are not allowing their emotions to get...

References: Five steps of principled reasoning. (2001). [Online]. Available: (September 25, 2002).
Shanks, Thomas. (1997, Winter). Everyday ethics: morality requires regular reflection on the day-to-day decisions that confront us. Issues in Ethics. 8(1). [Online]. Available: (September 28, 2002).
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