There are so many instances in life where ethics play a major role in decisions that we, as humans, make. Ethical decision making processes take place mostly when conclusions are reached that directly affect people, but what are ethics? The Random House-Webster's Dictionary of Modern English defines ethics as: The branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of actions and the goodness and badness of motives and ends. This paints a pretty clear picture of what it means to make ethical decisions.
This sounds like if you just follow your conscience then it would be fairly easy to come up with the right verdict. There is only one flaw in respect to this hypothesis; it doesn't always work. .
What is ethics and what place does it have in decision-making? Ethics means different things to each of us. We develop our ethics from our culture, ethnic background; religious beliefs and all that make us unique as humans. Knowing this does not help when we are asked as administrators or managers to make decisions that are jam-packed with ethical dilemmas. While preparing for this report I stumbled upon Santa Clara University website, article "A Framework for Ethical Decision Making". This article gave five steps that I found useful in the ethical -decision making. They are: Recognize a moral issue, Get the facts, Evaluate the alternative actions from various moral perspectives, Make a decision, Act, then reflect on the decision later.
Ethical Decision Making.
Trying to determine the meaning of ethics is, to say the least, a challenge. My search for that meaning took me to the Santa Clara University website. There I found discussions that I agreed with. Sociologist Raymond Baumhart found that replies to the question "What does ethics mean to you?" was as diverse as those he asked. The answers varied from personal feelings to what is socially acceptable, from religion to legality.