All of us endeavor to make decisions that would benefit one and all. But more often than not, this is easier said than done. Indeed, the models for ethical decision making are definitely challenging to see through. But if you are determined to do the right thing, following the steps for decision making won't seem like such a burden, after all.

But before we move on to discuss the models for ethical decision making, it's vital to be clear what exactly does the term imply. What is ethical decision making and what role does it play in our lives?

"A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world." - Albert Camus

Ethics define an individual's behavior. Everyone has a unique perception of ethics, and that's because it's our moral code that influences our ethics significantly. Now let's be clear, there is a difference between morals and ethics. Morals can be considered the universal right and wrongs. Of course, there are some actions like stealing or plagiarism that are universally considered unethical. But quite often, the line is blurred.

The community we are a part of shapes our perception of ethics. What's considered ethical in one community might be regarded as unacceptable behavior in the other. This is primarily why steps to decision making are so complicated.

As we endeavor to make an ethical decision, we have to think about both our personal beliefs and our community.

"The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life." - Albert Einstein

Why Follow The Models For Ethical Decision Making

"Even the most rational approach to ethics is defenseless if there isn't the will to do what is right." - Alexander Solzhenitsyn

You might not realize it, but your decisions can have a serious impact on someone else. No business can flourish and thrive if the owner fails to follow the ethical code of conduct. Haven't you wondered why the reputation of some business owners is in tartars? Here are some of the reasons that should compel you to follow the steps for appropriate decision making.

  • Ethical decision enhances your reputation. They build your credibility in the eyes of your consumers, community, and even employees. No one wants to work with a person who appears dubious. Being honest in your interactions will make people inclined to give you a chance.
  • By following the right steps for decision making, you can take your business to greater heights. When you treat your potential clients with respect, you will inevitably win their trust and, in turn, their recommendation.
  • Very few things make you more content and satisfied than making ethical decisions. If you are true to yourself and do what's right, you will definitely feel good about it. And what's more valuable than personal satisfaction?

When To Use Models For Ethical Decision Making?

We seldom realize that we face situations wherein we have to make an ethical decision at every point. For instance,

  • When you decide the wages of your employees
  • When you ensure that your team is able to maintain a work-life balance
  • By giving minorities a chance to progress
  • Having policies that work in favor of consumers
  • Being active with donations and charity

You will need good models for ethical decision making at every step of life. You will have to evaluate and choose the option that falls in line with the moral norms of your community. Of course, taking ethical decisions can be tough. However, if you have three characteristics, you are bound to succeed. These include

  • Commitment wherein you are willing to do whatever it takes to make the right decision
  • Consciousness which encourages you to never forget about your moral convictions
  • Competency which gives you the ability to collect facts, weigh your options and arrive at the right conclusion.

The Steps For Decision Making You Must Follow

How do you ensure that you make a decision that does not harm anyone and, in fact, works for the benefit of the community? Let's take a look at the steps to follow.

Take A Moment To Recognize An Ethical Issue

A lot of times, people don't even realize that they are in the midst of a moral dilemma. They fail to realize how their decision will affect others

Whenever you find yourself at crossroads, take a minute and reflect. Will your decision harm any group? Is the decision black and white, or there's some grey to it? Is it a legal matter?

Reflect on these questions and look at the bigger picture. Analyze the situation calmly instead of making hasty decisions.

Be Clear Of Your Goals

Every decision you take has long term and short term effects. You have to determine what you aim to achieve with your decision. You wouldn't want to make a decision that benefits you immediately, only to take you farther away from your goal.

Focus On The Facts

It's your responsibility to make an informed decision. Ensure that you have all the relevant facts that should influence your decision. Endeavor to find out everything related to the situation so that you can make a decision that works well for all involved.

Will your decision affect a particular group? And what are the main concerns you should address immediately? These are some of the questions you should be asking yourself.

Make sure you verify all the facts. Once you start collecting facts, you will realize that sometimes there are too many versions of the same story. Making a sound decision becomes all the more important in such times. Your judgment can have a profound effect on those around you.

Therefore, ensure that you handle the task responsibly. Rule out biases from facts and gauge the credibility of the source of your information. Evaluate the information so that you can make a decision that benefits one and all.

Figure Out The Options

The models for ethical decision making require a lot on your part. After you have evaluated the facts, you have to make a list comprising all your options.

Be creative and come up with plenty of choices. Remember, there are plenty of ways to do stuff. You just have to think hard to figure out what needs to be done.

Weigh The Options And Think Of Consequences

It's time to evaluate all your choices. Figure out which option will lead to the most good and will incur minimum harm. Which option will be acceptable to all the parties considered? Is there any choice that will require you to differentiate between different groups? How can your decision benefit the community?

Start by filtering your choices. Remove those alternatives from your list that go against your core ethical principles. Avoid considering anything that involves breaking the law or being unfair to others. Yes, you have to eliminate all the unethical decisions at this point.

Determine who will be most affected by your decision and put yourself in their shoes. Try to figure out how you can help them and how your decision can hurt them.

It's Time To Decide

As is famously said,

"Making a decision is different from making a choice. In making a decision, you consider the pros and cons. After analyzing everything, you would be able to come up with a decision. In making a choice, you know the pros and cons. However, you still do what you wanna do. You disregard everything."

Now you have followed most of the steps and models for ethical decision making. You must have arrived at a conclusion as to which option will work out in the best way possible. At this point, you should make your decision.

If you are still on the fence, try talking to those whose judgment you trust. Seek other's opinions but take the final call yourself. Remember, treat others how you want to be treated yourself. Therefore, make a decision wherein you consider the position of those involved.

Act On It

Even after trying your utmost best, there will be times when you will end up making the wrong choice. Don't push yourself too hard. Instead, reassess the situation and don't hesitate to make new decisions.

It's vital to always reflect on the outcome of your decisions. Every decision you take is a learning experience. Ensure that you monitor the progress and be flexible in your approach.

A Journey Worth The Trouble

""The strongest thing that any human being has going for itself is its own integrity and its own heart. As soon as you start veering away from that, the solidity that you need to stand up for what you believe in, just isn't going to be there."  -Herbie Hancock

Of course, it's not easy to do what's ethically right. Sometimes, you might have to think really hard and battle it out with your ideas. But once you realize that your decision has benefited the community as a whole, you will feel immense satisfaction.

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Catch you on the flip,

-Noah

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