Ethical Decision Making

Article

Schoonmaker, Amanda L.   (1990, ASQC)   Schoonmaker Enterprises, Chesterfield, MO

Annual Quality Congress, San Francisco, CA    Vol. 44    No. 0
QICID: 9546    May 1990    pp. 782-787
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Article Abstract

Ethical behavior in business is one of the most urgent problems facing America today. Ethical behavior is a decision-making process. The problem is not decisions of principle, i.e., those in which there is a clear-cut policy or law defining what is right and what is wrong: It is decisions of preference that are difficult; these ethical dilemmas are situations in which there may be multiple points of view, and the decision is not guided by any single policy or law.

This paper will examine ethical behavior in the business environment and particularly in individual job situations. If you are able to unravel an ethical dilemma, it is even more challenging to act on what you believe is the right thing to do. How do you behave ethically when there are many pressures not to do so?

Ethical action can have tremendous effect on the bottom line. Ethical behavior builds credibility. The need is to anticipate what ethical dilemmas might occur in the coming year. Then analyze these situations by applying an ethical-decision-making process or checklist. The value of such an exercise cannot be underestimated. This paper will present a technique for anticipating and analyzing such situations.

You never really know what response you'll make until you're actually confronted with a situation. Often there is a big gray area between right and wrong. A lot of grayness can be taken out of ethical dilemmas if you take the time to sort out the situation. If individuals or companies anticipate and rehearse situations they will be able to act in a more informed and prepared manner.

Keywords

Quality management (QM)


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