A Model for Ethical Decision Making

Ethical Decision Making

A Model for Ethical Decision Making


Ethical decision-making is the assessment of options available and picking the most ethical principle in solving an ethical dilemma or any situation that a person faces in an organization. The ethical dilemma is a conflict that arises out of two competing alternatives in decision-making. Organizations have strived to develop an ethical decision-making model to help in solving ethical dilemmas that arises in the course of daily routines. Ethics rely on logical and rational criteria to reach a decision, an essentially cognitive process (Loewenberg et al., 2000; Reamer, 1995; Robison & Reeser, 2002). In this paper, I will develop a seven-step ethical decision-making model to solve a dilemma whereby an employer utilizes inside knowledge for his benefit.

Step 1: Defining what the problem is

Problem definition in any ethical decision-making process is very fundamental in solving any dilemma that may come across in an organization. Identification and definition of the problem is the cornerstone in solving the ethical dilemma amicably.  Definition of the components of a problem enables an individual to know the main causes of the problem and how one can approach it with an aim of solving it. In the chosen dilemma, I will endeavor to trace the contributory factors making the employee use inside knowledge for his benefit. I will engage the employee to help me unravel the gaps in the organization that enables him to use inside knowledge for his benefit.

Step 2: Seeking out relevant assistance, guidance, and support

The next step ethical decision-making process is to seek assistance, guidance, and support. It is paramount to note that once a problem is defined it is only necessary for one to carry out in-depth analysis and thorough research on how a similar or related ethical dilemma has been solved by other people and organizations. Advice from my peers and professionals will be so important in making an array of alternatives in solving the ethical dilemma.  In solving the ethical dilemma in this case, I will make good use of the organizational policies and the code of conduct of the organization. I will decide as to whether the employee has violated any of the codes of conduct or not. I will further determine the extent to which the organization's policies disobeyed by how the employee has conducted himself.  This step will indeed help me to come up with various parameters on which I base my decision aimed at solving the dilemma.

Step 3: Identifying available alternative solutions to the problem

This helps in documenting the necessary and appropriate alternatives that will help in solving the ethical dilemma stated here. I will consider a wide range of alternatives relevant to the ethical dilemma. I will embrace a progressive approach to embracing decisions so that they can be appropriate to changing circumstances.

Step 4: Evaluating the identified alternatives

After the identification of alternatives, a thorough evaluation of the alternatives follows. I will consider alternatives that will balance the negative and positive implications. I will think through the possible implications of the chosen alternatives. I will supplement the chosen alternatives with the various assumptions in reality and informed beliefs.

Step 5: Making a decision

Once alternatives have been evaluated efficiently, I will decide on the most appropriate alternative to using in solving the ethical dilemma. A thorough evaluation of the alternatives creates confidence in the decision of alternatives made. Possible outcomes that will emanate out of a decision made will be embraced without huge reservations.

Step 6: Implement the decision

Once a decision is made on the alternative to be used in solving the ethical dilemma, implementation comes in. implementation entails solving the ethical dilemma by using the alternative chosen through the explained steps. An implementation plan is drawn to help an organization solve the ethical dilemma amicably with probable positive impacts. Organizations aim at ensuring harmony in their operations to maximize in its operations and returns. Therefore, the organization will implement the chosen alternative and apply it sparingly and cautiously so that it can remain intact.

Step 7: Evaluating the decision

Implementation of decisions is geared towards solving the identified ethical dilemma. An organization evaluates her decisions made in solving the ethical dilemma and identifies the possible grey areas where improvement can be done so that an ethical dilemma is fixed permanently. Evaluation of the decision helps the organization to know the extent to which a dilemma is solved.    


To this end, ethical dilemmas can be adequately be solved by applying the explained model with seven steps. The steps are; definition of the problem, seeking out relevant assistance, guidance, and support, identifying available alternative solutions to the problem, evaluating the identified alternatives, making a decision, Implement the decision, and evaluating the decision. This model has proved to be effective in many organizations.


Craft, J. L. (2013). A review of the empirical ethical decision-making literature:2004–2011 Journal of business ethics117(2), 221-259.

Contingent Model.” The Academy of Management Review, vol. 16, no. 2, 1991, pp. 366–395 JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/258867. Accessed 19 June 2021.

Jones, Thomas M. “Ethical Decision Making by Individuals in Organizations: An Issue-

Dolgoff, R., Loewenberg, F. M., & Harrington, D. (2009). Ethical issues for social work practice.

Reamer, F. G. (1995). Ethics consultation in social work. Social Thought18(1), 3-16.

Robison, W. L., & Reeser, L. C. (2000). Ethical decision-making in social work. Boston:

Allyn and Bacon.


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