We’re all sometimes faced with difficult choices where we have to stop and consider the ethics of the entire situation before making a decision. At times, the lines between ethical and unethical can be so blurred that you’re unsure of whether or not you’ve made the right decision. We understand the struggle of it all, which is why we’ve prepared a brief guide to thoughtful and ethical decision making in business. Let’s see what you can do to make sure the decision you made hasn’t compromised your ethics.
Sometimes, when the stakes are high and the ethics are questionable, people tend to get more emotionally invested in the situation.
Ethical Decision Making Framework: 4 Tips
1. Think About the Facts
The first thing you should do when faced with an ethical dilemma is take some time and think about the facts. What is the decision you have to make about? Are you the only person involved in the situation? Who would potentially suffer because of your decision? If you’re not the only person involved, you also have to consider what the other people think about the situation. Moreover, make sure to check whether the information you have is accurate and complete. Before making a decision, you have to be positive that nothing is uncertain.
2. Consider Your Options
Usually, when faced with the prospect of making a decision that could be unethical, you have more than one option to choose from. Your job is to think about all the options you have. Then, imagine how the situation would turn out if you were to choose each one of them. Identify the steps you’d have to go through, the people whom you would affect with your decision, and so on. It would also be useful for you to make a pros and cons list for each of them. Once you do that, it’s easier to choose an option that you’re sure is ethical.
3. Put Your Emotions Aside
Before making a decision, it’s important not to allow your emotions get in the way of the right choice. Sometimes, when the stakes are high and the ethics are questionable, people tend to get more emotionally invested in the situation. This might damage the outcome and push you to make a hasty decision. Don’t try to rush such a decision, but take your time with it. The more time you take, the more you get to distance yourself emotionally from the situation. This will prevent you from making a decision in the spur of the moment.
4. Visualize the Outcome
A good strategy for the ethical decision making process is to visualize what will happen once you’ve made your decision. In order for you to check whether or not this is a choice you’re comfortable with, imagine explaining your choice and the logic behind it to people close to you or to someone interviewing you for the news. If you can pertinently explain the decision without hiding anything or getting uncomfortable, then you’ve probably made the right one. If you feel like you don’t want to share it with the world, it might mean that you have to keep looking until you find a better solution.
Whenever you’re faced with a decision that might compromise your ethics, remember the ethical decision making model above and take your time before choosing the best course of action.
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