My Personal Ethical Framework
Ethical decision-making is a major obligation for every human being. This is the case because whatever people do will definitely influence or affect the lives of their neighbors and friends. Three frameworks have been developed to guide people whenever engaging in ethical decision-making processes. The first approach is known as the consequentialist framework. The framework begins by outlining the outcomes that an individual should produce or strive to deliver (Ajunwa, Crawford, & Ford, 2016). This is the deliberative process that guides a person to focus on the best outcomes. The issue of focus goes further to identify the manner in which an action will affect other people. The ultimate goal of the framework is to engage in actions that can deliver desirable consequences.
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The second model is the duty framework. The deliberative process of the model focuses on the obligations of an individual and actions that should be avoided. The framework is used to identify the obligations of the individual. The framework defines ethical conduct as the ability to do whatever is right. The individual is also encouraged to complete the duty in a timely manner. The third approach is the virtue framework that guides people to become ethical in nature. The deliberative process examines what an individual’s action will say about his or her character (Ajunwa et al., 2016). The ultimate focus is to discern specific values and traits that motivate other people. Ethical conduct, according to the framework, is doing the most agreeable thing depending on the targeted situation.
My ethical framework is informed by the virtue model. This is the case because my obligation has always been to become a good person. I have always wanted my actions to say more about my moral values and character. The framework guides me to embrace the best virtues that are admirable to every person (Pollard, 2015). Vices that might affect the welfare of other people are ignored. My main obligation is to empower and promote the experiences of my friends. That being the case, my ethical conduct is defined by the best actions and practices that are acceptable depending on the nature of the situation.
I have included a number of principles in my ethical framework in order to emerge successful. For instance, I always embrace the power of utilitarianism and the concept of common good. These principles guide me to make adequate decisions that can support my goals and empower others. The principle of beneficence guides me to do what is right always. The principle of non-maleficence is also included in my framework in order to ensure my actions are acceptable (Ajunwa et al., 2016). The principle of respect is also evident in my ethical model. The principles of ethics can therefore be embraced in order to guide a person’s actions.
My ethical framework features the best values that define my obligation as a human being. Some of them include integrity, trustworthiness, duty, responsibility, love, and empathy. Whenever focusing on specific decisions or actions, I always embrace these values in order to ensure the greatest form of happiness is realized (Johnson, 2016).
The other important thing is that my ethical framework has been informed by different personal and academic experiences. To begin with, the values of love and integrity gained from my religious faith have always guided my philosophy. The virtue framework studied in class has also made it easier for me to come up with a model that meets my ethical goals and obligations (Mort, Roberts, Pols, Domenech, & Moser, 2013).
My experiences at the place of work and in school have also encouraged me to act diligently depending on the existing situation (Pollard, 2015). The important thing is that I will always embrace new values, concepts, and ideas that have the potential to make me an ethical thinker who supports the welfare of the greatest number of people.
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A Difficult Ethical Decision Related to My Personal/Work Life
Human beings will always encounter numerous challenges whenever interacting with their friends and workmates. Individuals who have appropriate ethical decision-making frameworks will find it easier to come up with adequate decisions and support the welfare of their workmates. The ethical dilemma that encouraged me to come up with the most appropriate moral decision was experienced at my place of work (Mort et al., 2013). This dilemma emerged when one of my workmates informed me that he had stolen a laptop from the office. The manager in the department was unhappy with the malpractice and indicated clearly that the company was at risk of recording losses.
The company’s policy outlined clearly that every employee should act responsibility, handle office equipment appropriately, and avoid any misbehavior. Some of the malpractices outlined by the company include theft, vandalism, telling lies, sexual misconduct, and harassment (Pollard, 2015). Such measures have been implemented in order to ensure every employee acts ethically and focuses on the targeted goals.
The misbehavior recorded in my workplace was questionable because it was wrong to steal anything from the firm. This scenario presented an ethical dilemma because the employee had acted inappropriately (Mort et al., 2013). At the same time, it was my obligation to ensure the right procedures and practices were implemented in the office in order to support the company’s goals. I clearly understood that failing to report the matter to the head of the department could affect the performance and effectiveness of the company (Johnson, 2016). The decision to report the matter would have resulted in a disciplinary action against the employee. The worker would definitely be unhappy with me after reporting the malpractice to the relevant authorities in the company.
From this analysis, it is quite clear that my ethical values and principles could not allow me to do the wrong thing. At the same, I was expected by most of my workmates to disregard the whole issue in order to safeguard the employee’s job. Any form of theft at the place of work was also wrong and unacceptable (Dondorp & Lith, 2015). It is therefore agreeable that these pressures were influencing my decision-making process.
Several cultural influences would dictate my final decision. For instance, our cultural and religious values were against any form of theft or dishonesty (Mort et al., 2013). Most of the workers in the office also believed strongly that every individual was supposed to act in a diligent manner and embrace the most appropriate behaviors. It should also be observed that changing circumstances do not impact most of the decisions made in the working environment (Spector, 2016). This is the case because there is a clear policy that dictates the behaviors and actions undertaken by every worker.
Throughout the decision-making process, I came up with various assumptions in order to act in an ethical manner. For instance, I assumed that most of the individuals in the company would be against various malpractices such as stealing. I also assumed that it was my obligation to speak the truth and prevent similar misbehaviors from taking place in the company (Mort et al., 2013). Unfortunately, one of our workmates indicated clearly that it was inappropriate for us to disclose the issue to other manager. According to the individual, the move would have consequences such as punishment or dismissal (Dondorp & Lith, 2015).
This analysis shows conclusively that the ethical dilemma experienced in the working environment was complex or difficult in nature. This is the case because different stakeholders in the office presented diverse views about the issue. I was also expected to act diligently and uphold the policy of the company. The employee who had committed the offense would also be unhappy with my decision (Spector, 2016). Coming up with a final decision was something difficult because there was conflict of interest in the office.
The ethical dilemma also presents various values and principles that appear to be in conflict. For example, the principle of beneficence indicates clearly that human beings should do good always. The individuals in the working environment appeared to present diverse views and opinions. Several values were also evident in this ethical dilemma (Spector, 2016). For example, specific values such as duty, integrity, and honesty appeared to be challenged. That being the case, the issue should have been addressed using a powerful ethical framework in order to ensure the right thing was done.
Application of My Ethical Framework
Ethical dilemmas should be addressed using the most appropriate frameworks in order to maximize the outcomes of the affected individuals. The ethical framework described above can be used to deal with this dilemma. The important thing is outlining the primary issues or dilemmas presented in the case. To begin with, the case shows conclusively that an employee has ignored the policies implemented by the company.
This is the case because every employee in the organization is expected to act in a professional manner and take good care of its property and equipment (Dondorp & Lith, 2015). The second dilemma arises from the duty of every employee in the company. The workers should be on the frontline to support the missions and goals of the firm. They can do so by reporting every form of theft or vandalism.
The theft presented in the case is against specific principles and values such as beneficence, integrity, and duty. It is therefore necessary for the involved parties to focus on the best decision-making process that can address the issue (Mort et al., 2013). A proper understanding of the ethical issues and dilemmas can make it easier for the firm to deal with the case.
Several questions can therefore be used to guide my ethical framework and deal with this case. The first step is to answer this question: what actions should be taken in order to portray the best character? This approach will ensure the deliberative process or step of the ethical decision-making framework is completed successfully. The second issue is “the focus” (Spector, 2016, p. 1008). This means that the character traits and vices that motivate the workers in the organization are clearly analyzed. This knowledge will ensure the right decisions are made in order to deal with the issue.
The final step of the framework will be to identify and define the best ethical conduct. The most important thing will be to come up with the best ethical decision based on the nature of the dilemma or circumstance. This decision-making criterion was supported by some of the best principles and values. For instance, the beneficence principle will ensure the most appropriate action is taken (Dondorp & Lith, 2015). After experiencing the ethical dilemma, I chose to report the matter to the department leader or manager. This decision was taken seriously because it was in accordance with my ethical framework. The framework made it easier for me to deal with a major issue that was affecting the company.
It should also be indicated that my ethical framework would have been used to deliver a similar decision. With the use of the virtue framework, I would have focused on the best action or decision that defines my character (Dondorp & Lith, 2015).
My character is usually defined by moral actions and decisions that are guided by the utilitarian theory. That being the case, I would have reported the matter to the relevant authorities because theft was an unethical practice in the company. The approach would have discouraged more people in the working environment from committing similar offenses. The practice would have led to better practices and ensure the firm’s equipment and resources were safeguarded from theft.
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This is the case because an “ethical decision and action should be in accordance with the philosophy of a person who is fully virtuous” (Dondorp & Lith, 2015, p. 5). This ethical decision-making process would have addressed the ethical dilemma and encouraged more people in the company to embrace the best practices.
Applying a Different Decision-Making Process in the Future
This reflection has proved that the use of a powerful ethical decision-making framework can guide many people to deal with a wide range of dilemmas or conflicts. The ethical dilemma experienced in the workplace showed conclusively that an effective decision-making approach could deliver sustainable results (Dondorp & Lith, 2015). However, the framework used to deal with the dilemma revealed a number of diverse interests. Such challenges emerged because some of the individuals in the company were against the decision to report the matter to the relevant authorities (Johnson, 2016). Individuals can therefore embrace the use of different ethical decision-making methods to address specific dilemmas.
I strongly believe clearly that a different decision-making process can be used in the future to deliver positive results. The duty framework is a powerful model that can address various ethical dilemmas (Mort et al., 2013). The duty framework begins by identifying the deliberative process. The individual begins by highlighting the major obligations in the targeted situation or circumstance. The decision-maker will identify the things or activities that should be done or not (Dondorp & Lith, 2015). The individual will then go further to determine the facts of the case or scenario.
According to this framework, the ethical conduct entails “doing the right thing always” (Ajunwa et al., 2016, p. 478). The individual should also make sure every intended duty is completed in a timely manner. The guiding principle or motivation is performing the most appropriate or right action (Johnson, 2016). I can therefore embrace the use of the duty framework to deal with the presented ethical dilemma. By so doing, it would be easier for me to do what is right and ensure the needs of the greatest number of people are addressed. It would therefore be necessary for people to embrace “the use of different ethical decision-making frameworks in order to produce the most good and support the wellbeing of every citizen” (Mort et al., 2013, p. 441).
This case study has equipped me with useful insights and ideas that can support my ethical decision-making philosophy. I have understood that the first step towards making an ethical decision is to be aware of the deliberative process. The experience has encouraged me to embrace the role and importance of various moral principles. When such principles are followed during the decision-making process, the individual will find it easier to come up with the best ideas and actions that produce happiness (Mort et al., 2013).
The case study has also indicated clearly that every ethical dilemma will attract diverse views from different individuals or stakeholders. It is therefore necessary for every decision-maker to be aware of such conflicts. This knowledge will make it possible for the person to make the most appropriate decision that is in accordance with every ethical principle.
If I was required to address the presented ethical dilemma again, the agreeable fact is that I would come up with the same decision. This is the case because the decision made was guided by my ethical framework. The decision was also informed by a wide range of values and principles that can result in ethical actions (Johnson, 2016). The decision was embraced because it had the potential to address a vice that could threaten the performance of the company or make it impossible to achieve the targeted business goals.
I would follow the same procedure whenever making ethical decisions in the future. My ethical framework has been influenced by numerous experiences, principles, theoretical concepts, and values. The model also focuses on the best outcomes and actions that support my moral character. However, I will go further to identify new decision-making frameworks and theories in order to develop my model much further (Johnson, 2016). This initiative will make it easier for me to address a wide range of ethical problems. The strategy can be used to come up with evidence-based solutions that can fulfill the expectations of the greatest majority.
My thinking about ethical decision-making has developed significantly. The class materials have educated me about the best practices and theoretical approaches that can make it easier for me to make ethical decisions (Mort et al., 2013). I have understood why it is necessary for individuals to have a unique source of motivation or goal. This kind of motivation will always guide me whenever making ethical decisions.
My virtue decision-making framework will definitely make it easier for me to approach complex ethical dilemmas and situations as a professional manner. The framework has made it easier for me to understand that all ethical dilemmas (both simple and complex) should be approached based on the source of motivation (Johnson, 2016). Since my motivation is to do the right thing and develop my personal character, I will always be focusing on the most appropriate outcomes that can meet the needs of the greatest majority. This strategy will guide me to make complex ethical decisions in my future life.
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Dondorp, W., & Lith, J. (2015). Dynamics of prenatal screening: New developments challenging the ethical framework. Bioethics, 29(1), 2-6. Web.
Johnson, C. (2016). Organizational ethics: A practical approach (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Mort, M., Roberts, C., Pols, J., Domenech, M., & Moser, I. (2013). Ethical implications of home telecare for older people: A framework derived from a multisited participative study. Health Expectations, 18(1), 438-449. Web.
Pollard, C. (2015). What is the right thing to do: Use of a relational ethic framework to guide clinical decision-making. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 8(2), 362-368. Web.
Spector, J. (2016). Ethics in educational technology: Towards a framework for ethical decision making in and for the discipline. Education Technology Research and Development, 64(1), 1003-1011. Web.