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Ethical Decision Making Essay

1178 words - 5 pages

Ethical Decision Making 

Ethics are principles that define behavior as fair and proper and they are concerned with how a moral person should behave when it comes to making an ethical decision (Josephson Institute of Ethics, 2002). Evaluating and deciding among competing options is often key in making a fair choice since principles do not always dictate a single "moral" course of action. 
The decision of whether to lay off workers to enhance profits or to cut corners on quality to meet a deadline are examples of some choices regarding ethics business owners may face (Poznak Law Firm, 2003). The use of extremely low-wage foreign workers, like in the Nike organization case, is a current ...view middle of the document...

If a business is losing money each month, increasing payroll expenses are sometimes not an option. However, these companies should at least consider cutting costs in other areas of business to pay their employees fairly. 
Besides believing in the importance of ethics, ethical decision-making requires foresight and sensitivity to consequence of choices, the ability to evaluate complex and incomplete facts, and the skill to achieve the required goals behind the choice being made (Josephson Institute of Ethics, 2002). The decision maker must rank competing moral claims and be able to predict consequences. Economic, professional and social pressures can also obscure moral issues. The ability to make a sound choice often requires a framework of principles that are reliable and a procedure for implementing them to the dilemma. 
We all have the power to make decisions and we are morally responsible for the consequences of our choices (Josephson Institute of Ethics, 2002). The process of making ethical decisions requires commitment and the desire to do the right thing regardless of the cost. It also requires competency and an awareness to act consistently. Good decisions are ethical, acquiring and maintaining trust, and demonstrating responsibility and fairness. And while decisions need to be effective as well, ethical decisions establish a foundation for making better decisions by setting ground rules for our behavior. 
The Josephson Institute of Ethics considers ‘The Six Pillars of Character' as values essential to ethical decision-making. These are good foundations for the ground rules of any ethical decision. These ground rules are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. These values interrelate with one another every day to form opinions amongst society. 
The qualities of honesty, integrity, reliability and loyalty help build trustworthiness (Josephson Institute of Ethics, 2002). However, it is honesty that is perhaps the most fundamental of ethical values and it a broad value that involves communication and conduct. Respect prohibits violence, humiliation, manipulation and exploitation and it reflects notions such as civility, courtesy, decency, dignity, autonomy, tolerance and acceptance. To ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you' sums up this pillar of character. 
The ability to respond to expectations by being accountable and pursuing excellence shows responsibility (Josephson Institute of Ethics, 2002). The basic concept of fairness seems simple, yet in daily life can be surprisingly difficult to apply it. It implies devotion to a balanced standard of justice without one's own feelings getting in the...

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