Introduction to Ethic Decision Making Introduction

The Ethical Decision Making Process

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The Ethical Decision Making Process:
Kidder lays out nine (9) checkpoints for Ethical Decision Making:
1. Recognize there is a moral issue;

2. Determine the actor (who does the problem belong to?);

3. Gather the relevant facts;

4. Test for right vs. wrong issues;

5. Test for right vs. right paradigms;

6. Apply the resolution principles;

7. Investigate the “trilemma” option;

8. Make the decision;

9. Revisit and reflect on the decision.
The paradigms describe ethical problems as an “either/or”, either Truth or Loyalty, either Justice or Mercy. Frequently, as stated in step 7 of the checkpoints, there is a third option. Kidder calls this the “Trilemma” option. Is there a third option that addresses the questions and supports both sides in this “right vs. right” argument? Can I create a “Win-Win” in this situation? “Win-Win” is the best obvious choice and step 7 is especially important to the process.

Step 8 is also extremely important and is the most frequently overlooked step in the process. People tend to process the problem but never make a decision or act. It is important to come to a conclusion, decide, and act, then revisit and reflect.

Other ethical/moral considerations:
Acting vs. failing to act, or commission vs. omission--sometimes we do wrongly when we act, other times when we fail to act. Many moral codes emphasize only wrong actions, not wrong inactions.

Moral courage: ethics is about not just what we believe to be correct but also about whether we have the strength and courage to do what we know is right; and this dimension is intensified when we factor risk into the equation. The more risk, the harder to do what is right even when we know it is right.

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