When using critical thinking and decision making, it is hard to do without taking ethics into consideration. For instance, what is an ethically defensible decision? I would have to say that an ethically defensible position is one where sound ethics are used. I would ask myself, can the outcome of the decision be challenged because of the ethics which were used in making the decision? .
An ethically defensible decision is one that has been well thought out and looked at from all possible angles. All possible angles includes everyone the decision may affect including but not limited to employees, stakeholders, and other organizations. Also, when making ethically sound decisions, it may help to look at possible solutions in terms of what good the decision will bring about, and also what harm may be the outcome. .
When the ground rules are followed, one should be confident that the best solution has been chosen. One problem is that the ground rules may not necessarily be the same for everyone. This is because each of us has our own set of ethics. What is ethics? Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary defines ethics as "a : a set of moral principles or values b : a theory or system of moral values c plural but singular or plural in construction : the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group d : a guiding philosophy. (Merriam-Webster, 2002)." Put simply, we all live by our own set of values, and incorporate these values into the decisions we make on a daily basis. When someone's ethics are in question, then their decisions may be brought under scrutiny as well. This topic has been looked at on a widespread basis by today's media. Some of the current scandals such as the Enron scandal might not have been a problem if those involved did not have such misguided ethics.
What should the ground rules be then? I think the ground rules should all be the same regardless of your personal ethics.