Ethics: Decision Making
The decision making process can sometimes be a difficult one. There are many factors that may go into the process of decision making. Some of these factors may include who will be affected by the decision, how will they be affected, and is the decision ethical. Many times it is not easy to know what is considered ethical or unethical when making decisions. For example, a client has been terminated by their employer. The client offers other forms of payment for their therapy sessions. This presents an ethical dilemma.
Several ethical decision-making theories reviewed state or imply that reaching such decisions depends on the individual’s perspective which may be based on personal influences such as family, friends and cultural background as well as on external factors such as the legal and regulatory environment surrounding the issue in contention. The personal factors involved may require the individual to evaluate their own convictions and objectively analyze their own opinions as the decision process progresses.
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Persons in positions of perceived power may exert influence on the individual also affecting the decision. A personal economic perspective that considers the rewards of an ethical decision against the emotional and physical costs of the decision may cause the decision maker to evaluate the impact of the decision differently. While working through the process of making an ethical decision, individuals may be swayed by the proximity of others involved and the impact of the decision.
Finally, religion, personal integrity, honesty, trust and judgment come into play as the individual must ltimately reach the conclusion on his or her own terms. Even though it appears that there may be many factors influencing one’s ethical decisions, the question remaining is what specific influencing factors may be identified. What factors drive decision makers to the conclusions they reach? Are there factors that are relied on consistently when making an ethical decision? It is hoped this study might shed some light on these questions. The ethical theory which we discussed in class and most closely resembles mine is The Utilitarian theory.
The Utilitarian theory is the natural alternative for one who rejects ethical egoism and also feels unhappy about the deontological theories. Deontological theory seems take other people seriously whereas it does not take the promotion of good seriously enough. On the other hand, ethical egoism seems take the promotion of good seriously but does not take other people seriously enough. So, utilitarianism comes into place to which eliminates the problem of possible conflict of these basic principles. Utilitarianism takes both the promotion of good and other people seriously.
Theory says that our actions and our rules, if we must have rules, are to be decided upon by determining which of them produces or may be expected to produce the greatest general balance of good over evil. (Frankena, 1973, p. 34). In general, utilitarianism is a good ethical theory because it holds for greatest possible good towards the universe. The principle of utility is to promote the greatest good of the greatest number. It somewhat resembles to the ‘majority wins’ principle. Most of the democratic government and regulations are based on this principle.
The utilitarian ethical theory is founded on the ability to predict the consequences of an action. To a utilitarian, the choice that yields the greatest benefit to the most people is the choice that is ethically correct. The most important part of my life is my family. From my childhood till now my family had always supported me and each and every important decision I made in my life, I have always put them in context and they have always been supportive and cheerful. My family has always been there for me, so I always make sure that whatever I do, it does not affect my family, hurt them or make them unhappy.
Dividing my life into five-year increments: First increment (Born-12yrs): In this period of time, since I was just a child, every decision of mine was made by my parents. I don’t remember every part of it but I still have some memories and I think my parents have made the decisions what is right for me. When I was five years old, my parents decided to put me in the boarding school. It was kind of hard for me to adjust everything from food, bed, and friends and all but I think my parents decided it for a reason, which was beneficial to whole family.
I did learn to adapt to new situation and new environment and new people. Second increment (12yrs – 17yrs): I was still in boarding school and one of the big change came to my life is when I was 12 years old and decided to play basketball for the school. My dad used to play basketball and both my mom and dad were supported about it. This was huge change for me because when you are in the team, everybody knows you and it feel like you are the popular kid in the school. Everyone wants to friends with you and that was good experience for me and also made me stronger in life to make certain decisions.
Third increment (17yrs – 19yrs): After I finished my 10th grade, I suddenly decided to go out of country for further studies and consulted with my family. They were very supportive because they felt it was better for my future. I decided to go to India and it was my first time going out of country and far away from my family. First it was kind of hard for me to adjust to another new environment, new people and also new language but I went through it, made new friends and learned a lot about different culture, how to handle different situation on my own and make important decisions.
Fourth increment (19yrs – 22yrs): After I graduate high school from India, I had to make a decision where to go for further studies. I talked with my family and we all came to a decision that USA will be the best country for me for college. Since I had already been out of country the situation was similar but still the environment, culture, people and language was different. It was not hard for me because I had already been a lot in similar situation. This was a great experience for me that I get to learn different culture and make new friends again along with my college studies.
Again from this my confident grew larger along with spiritual and ethical. Fifth increment (22yrs – current): This five years period, I have learned a lot of things and experienced many situations then the rest of my life that I had lived. When I was 22 years I met a girl to whom I got committed and this changed everything from my thinking to decision I make. From that time now I had to face situation and make decision involving my family and my girlfriend. My family supported my relationship because she was from the same culture.
I learned many things from her and since some of her family members are living here, I am blessed to have another family in my life with whom I could take some advice and supported me in some situation. I was 25yrs old when I graduated from UTA, which was a once in life time experience and it was only possible because of my family and my girlfriend who were there every step of my life supporting every decision I made and correct me for every mistake I made. From my life experience and along with my family and friends I have become a strong person and my spiritual and ethical skill have grown a lot and still growing.
Frankena, W. K. (1973). Ethics. (2nd ed.).