Models Of Ethical Decision Making Essay

Absent ethical intent or the motivation to take the next step, ethical decision-making is not likely to occur.It’s one thing to know what moral reasoning methods direct a person to do, it’s quite another to do it., a term first coined by Leon Festinger in 1956[2].

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For example, imagine considering blowing the whistle on your superior who stole money from the organization.

The internal pressure is likely to create significant conflict between what you know the right thing to do is and actually doing it.

We either adjust our beliefs to fit our behavior, which is not the desired outcome, or we change our behavior to fit our beliefs, the normal and preferred relationship.

A strong set of ethical values provides the inner strength to act in accordance with our beliefs in the face of conflicting pressures.

Rest’s Model of Ethical Behavior How do we make ethical decisions?

Models Of Ethical Decision Making Essay

James Rest[1], a well-known cognitive-developmental researcher, developed a model of ethical behavior that is based on the presumption that there are four steps in moral development that lead to ethical action.Once a person is aware of possible lines of action and how people would be affected by the alternatives, a process aided by the philosophical reasoning methods, a judgment must be made about which course of action is more morally justifiable (which alternative provides the best outcomes/respects the rights of others/gives each person what they deserve).After concluding what course of action is best, decision makers must be focused on taking the moral action and following through with ethical behavior.An individual’s intention to act ethically and his/her ethical actions may not be aligned because of pressures or biases that influence decision making.Individuals with strong ethical character will be more likely to carry out their ethical intentions with ethical action than individuals with a weak ethical character because they are better able to withstand pressures from those within an organization.We need moral courage to inform higher-ups about our superior’s unethical action – at least we should try to right the wrong.The four components of Rest’s model are processes that must take place for moral behavior to occur.Rest does not offer the framework as a linear decision-making model, suggesting instead that the components interact through a complicated sequence of “feed-back” and “feed-forward” loops.An individual who demonstrates adequacy in one component may not necessarily be adequate in another, and moral failure can occur when there is a deficiency in any one component.He started with the end product -- to take ethical action -- and then determined the steps that produce such behavior.He concluded that ethical action is the result of four psychological processes: (1) moral sensitivity (recognition), (2) moral judgment (reasoning), (3) moral focus (motivation), and (4) moral character (action).


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