|Ethical Dilemmas and Decision-Making Frameworks
These are some tests to guide decision-making in business situations.
Transparency: Do I mind others knowing what I have decided?
Effect: Who does my decision affect or hurt?
Fairness: Would my decision be considered fair by those affected?
Trevino and Nelson (2007)
- Gather the facts
- Define the ethical issues
- Identify the affected parties
- Identify the consequences
- Identify the obligations
- Consider your character and integrity
- Think creatively about potential actions
- Check your gut
(from: Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk About How to Do It Right; L Trevino, K. Nelson; Wiley; 2006, 4th ed.)
Decision Making Frameworks – compiled by SME Financial Systems www.sme.ie/articles/business_ethics/decision_making_frameworks.pdf
Ethical Decision-making Frameworks – compiled by ICAEW www.icaew.com/index.cfm?route=149596
Center for Ethics and Business, Loyola Marymount University /www.ethicsandbusiness.org/strategy.htm
Complete Guide To Ethics Management, McNamara C, 1999
Resolving Ethical Dilemmas www.managementhelp.org/ethics/ethxgde.htm#anchor53723
Better Business Game
(BT) Experience what it can be like to manage social and environmental issues in a business. The game's contents are drawn from general business dilemmas across all industries, and are not solely based on BT experience or policies. www.btplc.com/Societyandenvironment/Businessgame/index.htm
The IBE has published a Good Practice Guide, Ethics in Decision-making
(2011) which provides provides a framework for understanding the key conditions for and barriers to bringing ethics into business decision-making. This Guide will help organisations embed ethical considerations through all their decision-making. It includes examples of how companies facilitate and promote this for employees, managers and senior leaders. A summary of the Guide is available to download here>>
More information on the Guide and how to order a copy can be found here>>
Over 15 scenarios are available in the Good Practice Guide: Developing and Using Business Ethics Scenarios
to view a sample dilemma from IBE's Elearning tool - Understanding Business Ethics
Institute for Global Ethics
A collection of ‘real life’ business dilemmas, provided without resolutions. www.globalethics.org/dilemmas.php
'Justice with Michael Sandel' JUSTICE is the first Harvard course to be made freely available online and on public television. Nearly a thousand students pack Harvard’s historic Sanders Theatre to hear Michael Sandel, "perhaps the most prominent college professor in America,” (Washington Post) talk about justice, equality, democracy, and citizenship. In this 12-part series, Sandel challenges us with hard moral dilemmas and invites us to ponder the right thing to do—in politics and in our everyday lives.
Lockheed Martin 'Integrity Minute'
- short clips of ethical dilemmas employees may find themselves facing. www.lockheedmartin.com/us/who-we-are/ethics/iminute.html
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics A collection of mini vignettes www.scu.edu/ethics/dialogue/candc/cases/business-scenarios.html and some longer case studies www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/focusareas/cases.cfm?fam=BUSI
Businessethics.ca Three mini cases and links to case databases www.businessethics.ca/cases/index.html
Small Business Notes Example of a dilemma frequently encountered in a small business setting www.smallbusinessnotes.com/operating/leadership/ethics.html
See also our 'Education' page for some downloadable case studies and ethical dilemmas.