Three Approaches to Making Ethical Decisions Within an Educational Institution

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Consequentialism Pages: 5 (1700 words) Published: December 1, 2013

Three Approaches to Making Ethical Decisions Within an Educational Institution Ethical decision-making is essential in understanding and demonstrating values in educational institutions. Philosophical, social and moral principles and values accentuate ethical decision-making and shape the foundation for understanding the relationship between an individual's values and decisions made in educational institutions. Administrating what an individual knows is right is not always straightforward, and determining what is right is often difficult (Beckner, 2004). An exact collection of ethical principles and moral concepts in decision-making does not exist. An understanding of ideas, values, or concepts should guide one's decision-making and demonstrate what an individual believes to be the best for students and other stakeholders in an educational institution. Individuals should prepare to utilize logical and applicable methods in decision-making, predominantly in situations where an obvious right-and-wrong answer does not exist (Beckner, 2004). The following treatise will identify, compare, and contrast three approaches to making ethical decisions within an educational institution: consequentialism, mixed-consequentialism, and deontologism. These three approaches to ethical decision-making, present a method for differentiating between right and wrong actions (Odell, 2001). Consequentialism

In consideration of the consequential approach, individuals should do whatever brings about the best results in a situation. This idea relates to common sense in the logic thinking that if individuals know the results of a specific action will be better than the results of another, then the individual should choose the action which will have the best outcome (Uglietta, 2001). In consequentialism theory, an individual ought to maintain the ability to foresee the consequences of an action. To a consequentialist, the decision that generates the most benefit to the most individuals is the decision that is ethically acceptable (Beckner, 2004). One advantage of this ethical approach is that an individual can evaluate comparable results and use a point system to establish which decision is more beneficial to the most individuals (Rainbow, 2002). A weakness of this approach includes the involvement of predicting the future. Some individuals may be able to use life experience to predict results, but there is no certainty to this practice. This in turn, may lead to unexpected results, which may be unethical since the choice may not benefit many individuals. For example, if an individual starts a fire in the fireplace to warm other individuals, and the fire burns down the house because there was creosote buildup that caught on fire, the consequentialist has selected an unethical decision since the decision did not benefit many individuals (Rainbow, 2002). Mixed-Consequentialism

In mixed consequential, consequential thinking is mixed with deontology thinking to form a single approach to ethical decisions. Consequently, a decision may be deontological when there is an assumption of justice, and consequentialistic when there is an assumption of utility or good (Nandi, 2006). Individuals should use this approach when there is an assumption of justice and utility of good (Beckner, 2004). Deontologism

In consideration of the deontological approach, consequences of actions are not significant when it comes to determining what is right and wrong. In this view, the most important aspect to remember is that consequences do not make a difference when determining if an action or individuals are moral or immoral, the end does not justify the means. A standard of morality determines if an action is right and if individuals are good. Moral standards must always be kept no matter what the consequences (Beckner, 2004). Deontologist individuals unite responsibilities and obligations when evaluating ethical decisions. A deontologist will always keep promises and always...
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