1. Identify the problem.
1.1. Be alert; be sensitive to morally charged situations. Look behind
the technical requirements of your job to see the moral dimensions. Use
your ethical resources to determine relevant moral standards . Useyour
1.2. Gather information and don’t jump to conclusions. While accuracy is
important, there can be a trade-off between gathering more information
and letting morally significant options disappear. Sometimes you may
have to make supplementary assumptions because there is insufficient
information and no time to gather more
1.3. State the case briefly with as many of the relevant facts and
circumstances as you can gather within the decision time available.
1.3.1. What decisions have to be made? There may be more than one
decision to be made.
1.3.2. By whom? Remember that there may be more than one decision-maker
and that their interactions can be
2. Specify feasible alternatives.
State the live options at each stage of decision-making for each
decision-maker. You then should ask what the likely consequences are of
various decisions. Here, you should remember to take into account good
or bad consequences not just for yourself, your company or clients, but
for all affected persons.
3. Use your ethical resources to identify morally significant factors in
3.1. Principles. These are principles that are widely accepted in one
form or another in the common moralities of many communities and
3.1.1. Respect autonomy. Would I be exploiting others, treating them
paternalistically, or otherwise affecting them without their free and
informed consent? Have promises been made? Are there legitimate
expectations on the part of others because I am a business or
3.1.2. Don’t harm. Would I be harming someone to whom I have a general
or specific obligation as a professional or as a human being?
3.1.3. Do good. Should I be preventing harm, removing harm, or even
providing positive benefits to others?
3.1.4. Be fair.
3.2. Moral models. Sometimes you will get moral insight from modelling
your behaviour on a person of great moral integrity.
3.3. Use ethically informed sources. Policies and other source
materials, professional norms such as company policy, legal precedents,
and wisdom from your religious or cultural traditions.
3.4. Context. Contextual features of the case that seem important such
as the past history of relationships with various parties
3.5. Personal judgements. Your judgements, your associates, and trusted
friends or advisors can be invaluable. Of course in talking a tough
decision over with others you have to respect client and employer
confidentiality. Discussion with others
is particularly important when other decision-makers are involved, such
as, your employer, co-workers, clients, or partners. Your professional
or business association may provide confidential advice. Experienced
co-workers can be helpful.