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Making Ethical and Unethical Decisions

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    Introduction In article seven, ‘How to Make Unethical Decisions,’ I read about how people choose to solve problems and make decisions. The highlighted problem associated, is that many people hastily make decisions without putting too much thought into them. Sometimes the use of ethical judgment can be put on the backburner and determining appropriate actions is heavily affected. It is important to analyze and understand commonly used unethical decision making practices, as well as look at appropriate guides that can assist in determining ethical actions.

    Unsophisticated Decision Making Methods The article touches on unsophisticated decision making tools and techniques. I think it is important to look at some of these examples and understand why they may even be used at all. Some of these practices include: flipping a coin; enee, meenie, minee, mo; and other popular methods like simply picking a number. (Sikula & Sikula, 2008) The truly shocking part is that people rely on these methods with more frequency than one would presume. Sikula & Sikula (2008) go on to elaborate on how people are “immobilized” by difficult decisions. They procrastinate indefinitely, do nothing, and let the chips fall where they may. ” I can relate to this observation as I, as I’m sure most have witnessed it first-hand and may have even participated in from time to time. One of the most dangerous decision making methods, is to rely on the past. Things in life are bound to change, it’s inevitable. As circumstances vary, doing things the same year after year is a sure path to failure, sooner than later. (Sikula & Sikula, 2008) Justifying Your Choices

    When you involve one’s personality or even ego, pointing out that their rationales may not be very rational, it can prove to be rather difficult. People can get very defensive and will view it as a personal attack. So, what are these commonly used choice rationales, you may ask? Some include common sense, gut reaction, self interest, or even conscience. Why do institutions or even people have such a hard time making ethical or proper choices if common sense really exists? “Human feelings, personal instincts, and individual gut reactions are all individually and collectively poor decision determinants. (Sikula & Sikula, 2008) The hardest one to grasp or wrap your head around is conscience and how it is indeed a bad rationale to utilize. Education and experience is needed to develop a conscience, which sounds like a good thing, but one must realize that people have learned unethical behavior through their experiences. Or as stated by Sikula (2008), a person may have no conscience, or possess one deranged by evil. Although conscience may be a better choice maker than others listed, it is still a pretty bad rationale. Good Ethical Actions

    There can never really be a truly perfect guide to ethical actions, but the authors did point out helpful suggestions one can use that would appropriate. Some of these suggestions include scripture, learned knowledge, formal education, and positive role modeling. Just like the Divine Command Theory, which involves taking God’s will to be the foundation of ethics, people use scripture as a guide. (Quinn, 1999) I wouldn’t necessarily use this method in a managerial setting, but it’s not uncommon for people to reflect on scripture before making major decisions.

    Learned knowledge is another big one in my eyes that people can use appropriately. It’s no secret that dramatic changes occur in young adults in their twenties and thirties when it comes to basic problem solving strategies they use when dealing with ethical dilemmas. Just like how there are different stages of growth in physical development; I believe there are stages of growth that develop the ability to think morally as well. A friend once told me, “A decent ethical compass can be achieved by asking yourself one question; would your mother approve? Now, a mother should use “Positive role modeling,” but that is not the best guide in my eyes. Many people are just old fashioned and like I stated earlier, past practices are usually in need of change. I wouldn’t consider this formal education, like I would an ethics class or other great classes that may expose you to culture or global issues, as an example. Positive role models can be great at effectively serving as ethics advocates. There are many areas where ethics consultants are striving and even making a living today.

    Whether it is social workers, counselors, or even the neighborhood police officers, people like this can help steer someone in the right directions when it comes to ethical actions. Conclusion In a business setting especially, good decision making is an essential skill for career success. People can learn to make timely and well considered decisions, unlike the many unethical or quickly selected options talked about earlier. Learning these appropriate guides early will often lead a business team to success much faster.

    Obviously, when making poor decisions, a business risks failure. All in all, a dedicated commitment to ethical behavior is the right thing to do, is good business, and promoting ethical excellence can only further oneself and society as a whole. References Quinn, P. (1999). Divine command theory, published in Hugh Lafollette (Ed. ). The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Sikula, A. & Sikula, J. (2008). How to make unethical decisions, published in Annual Editions: Business Ethics (Ed. 10/11), pg. 19

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