Ethicsor rather morals entail mechanisms that defend, systematize as wellas recommend conceptions of right or wrong. Many organizationsdevelop ethical codes to ensure employees and employers understandthe difference in doing right or wrong. In that respect, ethics arean essential aspect of the successful running of any organization orgovernment. Ethics ensure employee’s productivity levels are up tothe required standards. It also assists them to know their rights andresponsibilities. Additionally, employers, as well as any persons inmanagement, are guided by them to ensure they provide transparentleadership [ CITATION Wri07 l 1033 ].Ethics also define how customers should be handled. Ethical codesgovern the relationship between customers and an organization. Theethical decision making process is a fundamental aspect that assistsin making difficult choices, especially when facing dilemmas.Sometimes the top management faces difficult circumstances that haveno clear right or wrong answer[ CITATION Mat l 1033 ].As such, it vital to construct a decision-making process thatoutlines how a situation should be handled. Therefore, this paperwill provide an overview of decision-making and compare theindividual vs. organizational ethical perspectives.
Typesof ethical theories
Ethicaltheories can be subdivided into three broad categories i.e.consequentialist, non-consequentialist, and agent-centered theories.
Thereis a total of three approaches in this category. The UtilitarianApproach: It is one of the commonest mechanisms that is utilized whendealing with large groups. It implores one to weigh the varyingamounts of right or wrong that emanate from a particular action. Assuch, the consequences of the action are bound to be good and bad.However, the good outweighs the bad. Another theory is The EgoisticApproach: This mechanism is similar to utilitarianism only that it ismore individualistic. It is sometimes regarded as selfishness since aperson calculates and determines the decision that provides thehighest amount of good to him/herself. The last theory, in this case,is The Common Good Approach: It is based on the interest of thesociety. The actions such as respect and compassion are implementedfor the common good of the society, primarily the susceptible [CITATION Fir13 l 1033 ].
Inthis category, there are four key theories.TheDuty-Based Approach: It is also referred to as the deontologicalethics. The theory suggests that it is our moral duty to perform whatis ethically right. People should not be guided by the consequencesof their actions. The Rights Approach: This method requires that thebest ethical act is that which safeguards the ethical rights of thoseaffected by it. The Justice Approach: This mechanism implies that allpeople should be treated equally. The Divine Command Approach:Themethod implies that making decisions based on God’s will is theutmost description of ethics [ CITATION Fir13 l 1033 ].
Thenotion here is that ethics is deeply personal, in the nous that wemust keep our own ethical house in order. Our definiteresponsibilities are not to concentrate on how our acts cause otheragents to do evil the emphasis of our resounding duties is to keepour agency free of ethical taint. This category has two theories i.e.the virtue and feminist approaches.TheVirtue Approach: It implies that ethical choices should conform tothe ideal human virtues. The Feminist Approach: It concentrates withthe entirety of human life it comes to impact on the manner we makethe ethical decisions [ CITATION Fir13 l 1033 ].The above theories are vital in the personal and organizationalethical decision-making process.
Outlineof the process
Differentorganizations have varying steps of making ethical decisions. Thegeneral outline incorporates roughly eight steps. They include:
Defining the ethical problems
Identifying the affected parties i.e. stakeholders
Pinpointing the consequences
Identifying the obligations i.e. rights, justice, and principles
Considering the character and integrity
Deciding on the precise ethical action
Preparedness to deal with the consequences
Accordingto Rest’s Four-Component Model, an individual goes through four keyphases when facing ethical issues. They include moral sensitivity,judgment, motivation, and character. In moral sensitivity, the personis aware of the ethical issue prior to manifesting a proper behavior.In this section, a person must be aware of the fact that his/heraction can harm or assist other. Apart from that, he/she has severalchoices to pick from. As such, he/she chooses voluntarily. The personimaginatively constructs probable scenarios and applies empathy andresponsible-taking skills. The second step entails moral judgment. Atthis juncture, the person evaluates the good or bad of all theactions. Ethical decisions require one to apply appropriate judgmentto determine the best action. As such, this element labels theoptions, regardless of personal interest. Moral motivation imploresone to take a position that regards ethical values above any other.Additionally, it involves taking personal accountability for thecorresponding results. The other element, moral character entailsimplementing a particular behavior (Cabello-Medina, 2013).
Inan individual perspective, people are guided by what they perceive tobe morally wrong or right. In other words, the kind of choice made isdependent on an individual’s own values. According to MargaretMcLean, the choice between right or wrong is made depending on threeways. In the first case, an individual thinks all that matters arethe results. As such, why not lie? The outcomes may be bad, and itwill hurt people. In the second perspective, individuals are guidedby the rules. Therefore, why not lie? The rules mandate the truth. Inthe third case, a person chooses not to lie because of his/hervalues. For instance, they are honest. Therefore, an individual’sdecision-making process is guided by the anticipated results, rules,and character traits (McLean, 1996).
Moralcompetencies and values play a significant role in both individualand organizational decision-making. They define how human resourcesare managed and contribute to the attainment of organizationalresults. The competencies establish the skill, resources, andknowledge required by an employee to meet the organizational targets.Competency at the organizational level from a human resourcesmanagement perspective refers to the needed characteristics of anindividual. From the individual level at the psychologicalperspective, it relates to the real features owned by a person.Comparing the objective aspects of competence: In the organizationallevel, it refers to the standard required in employment relations. Atan individual level, it entails the observable employee behaviorsfrom an education perspective [CITATION Jan13 l 1033 ].
Thefour cardinal virtues i.e. prudence, justice, fortitude, andtemperance are vital facets in the decision-making process. Prudenceaffects moral judgment, sensitivity, and intention. It is concernedwith the knowledge and practical wisdom. Justice, on the other hand,refers to the permanent attitude to perform what is fair. Anothervirtue temperance refers to the desire to pursue what is just whileavoiding harmful undertakings. The fortitude virtue then controls thepassions of humans like despair, fear, anger, audacity, and hope. Allthese elements affect both individual and organizational factors ofethical decision-making [ CITATION Raf13 l 1033 ].
Evenwith clear guidelines of making ethical decisions, some individualstake the immoral path. It is also hard to maintain a standarddecision-making process without interferences or breakdowns. Thethree fundamental set of factors that can lead to ethical dissolutionincludes individual, organizational, and contextual factors. Theindividual factors are concerned with the personal background thatcan make one to value a particular approach [ CITATION Flo12 l 1033 ].Though they are important, they are the last thing an organizationconsiders in the decision-making process. As such, the corporationhas the utmost decision when making choices. However, at timesindividual aspects deter the decision-making process. Aspects such asculture, gender, education level, and personality among others canaffect the process [ CITATION Jac12 l 1033 ].
Organizationalfactors can also cause dissolution of an ethical decision-makingprocess. In this level, societal, organizational, and industryculture determine the decision-making process. The societal valuesshape the manner in which ethical decisions are made at both theorganization and individual levels. On the other hand, the industryculture defines the ethical patterns of a particular organization.Though a company may be operating independently, the interactionswithin the industry set a pattern of certain behaviors that affectsthe individual and corporation ethics. For instance, intensecompetition may push an organization into making a morally wrongdecision to heighten revenues and stay competitive. Organizationalculture also shapes the ethical atmosphere of the company.Dissolution can also be caused by contextual factors. The situationaffects whether the individual or group realize the component of thedecision the decision itself and whether the group or individualcarries out the unethical action [ CITATION Jac12 l 1033 ].
Fromthe elements stated above, individuals are swayed into makingunethical decisions depending on the organizational or industryinfluence. In other words, a person within an organization may resortto increasing the charges of a certain commodity to make substantialprofits. The nature of the industry and the company compels one intomaking such unethical moves. As such, people may take the unethicalroute due to personal gain [ CITATION Zen16 l 1033 ].
Theindividual and organizational ethical decision-making process aredependent on one another. In other words, a personal decision impactson the company and vice versa. The process of making a decision isquite hectic with immense challenges. As such, sometimes they breakdown due to personal or organizational effects. Though ethical codesguide companies, at times management is forced to overlook the lawsto provide judgments. For instance, when it is necessary to scaledown the workforce, the management must contravene their codes tomake judgments.
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