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Ethical decision making Cheat Sheet by

Guide to ethical decision making

8 step guide

1. Gather the facts. Are there any associated company rules? Am I authorised to make a decision? Is there a precedent?
2. Define the ethical issue/s
3. Identify affected parties. Major decisions can affect thousands of people for eg
4. Identify the conseq­uences. important to identity the conseq­uences with the highest probab­ility of occurring and those with the most negative outcomes
5. Identify the obliga­tions, and the reason for each one. May be individual or corporate
6. Consider your character and integrity. How could relevant people judge. Family, friends, partners, teachers, co-wor­kers. The front page of the paper test
7. Think creatively about potenital actions. Invent several options rather than just two.
8. Check your intuition. How does it feel. Would you be proud or disgusted?
Brainstorm :)

Potential ethical issues

Human rights
Economic growth vs enviro­nmental
Right to life / death
Complying with regula­tions
Honest, accurate, complete reporting
Bad language
Breach of contract
Breach of cultural taboos
Conspiracy to commit a crime
Corruption of minors
Corruption of morals
False advert­ising
Inciting violence
Intell­ectual property theft
Invasion of privacy
Security breaches
Software piracy
Uneven access to resources
Unprof­ess­ional behaviour


Trevino, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2011). Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right. 5th edition. New York: Wiley.

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