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Ethics cheat sheet

What are ethics

Personal beliefs regardiing what is right and wrong
Behaviour that conforms to generally accespted social norms
The law
Virtues and vices
Belief systems

What is an ethical dilema?

A situation where two values, respon­sib­ilities or obliga­tions are in conflict. Value v Value

Conseq­uen­tialist theory

Position that conduct conseq­uences form the basis for judgement of approp­ria­teness
"Do the ends justify the means?­"
Thus, from a conseq­uen­tialist standp­oint, a morally right act (or omission from acting) is one that will produce a good outcome, or conseq­uence.
Some argue that conseq­uen­tialist and deonto­logical theories are not necess­arily mutually exclusive

Ethical awareness / judgement

Decision maker must recognise ethical nature of problem or ethical decision making can not come into play
Research shows ethical issues stimulate a different part of brain to neutral
People more likely to be ethically aware if
believe peers will see as ethical problem (people look to social enviro­nment for cues)
Ethical lanuage used to present problem (framing the problem can influence response, also use of eupham­istic language)
There is potential for serious harm (morally intense)

Cognitive Barriers

Barriers to Fact Gathering
“Confi­rmation Trap”
Barriers to Consid­eration of Conseq­uences
Tend to reduce number of conseq­uences considered to simplify decision making
Consider own conseq­uences more than those of others, perhaps due to immediacy
May ignore conseq­uences which affect only a few people. Put self in their shoes.
May undere­stimate risk due to illusion of optimism, illusion of control
Escalation of commitment over time. Somethings get bigger as time goes on and people have a tendancy to continue due to the time already put in
Barrier to Integrity
People are likely to think positively about their own Ethics. Known as Illusion of superi­ority or illusion of morality
Barriers to Gut Feel
Be careful trusting your gut because it may be wrong
Unconsious attitudes likely bias our decision making
Non-ra­tional emotions

What is business ethics?

Choices about what the laws should be and whether to follow them
Choices about economic and social issues outside the domain of law
Choices about the priority of self interest over the company’s interests
The princi­ples, norms, and standards of conduct governing an individual or group

Normative approaches to ethics

Conseq­uen­tialist theories
Focus on conseq­uences
Deonto­logical theories
Focus on duties, obliga­tions, principles
Virtue Ethics
Focus on integrity
AKA Prescr­iptive

Normative ethics

Normative ethics is the study of ethical action. It is the branch of philos­ophical ethics that invest­igates the set of questions that arise when consid­ering how one ought to act, morally speaking.

8 step guide to sound decision making

1. Gather the facts
2. Define the ethical issue/s
3. Identify affected people - stakeh­olders
4. Identify the conseq­uences
5. Identify the obliga­tions, and the reason for each one
6. Consider your character and integrity
7. Think creatively about solutions
8. Check your intuit­ion/gut feel

Kohlbergs 6 stages of moral develo­pment


Who is affected by ethics?


Deonto­logical ethical theory

Concerned with the action taken, not the conseq­uences
Position that the most moral decision is based on rules, duties and obliga­tions
AKA Duty, Obligation or Rule based ethics

Virtue ethics

Founded by plato and Arisotle
Considers actors character, motiva­tion, intentions and principles and the type of character one ought-to be in determ­ining the most moral solution
Focuses more on the integrity of the moral actor than on the moral act itself
Goal is to be a good person simply because that is the person you wish to be

Influence of individual differ­ences

Indiv differ­ences affect ethical judgement and actions
Ethical Decisi­on-­Making Style
Framew­orks. Prefer­ences 1) Idealism, the persons concern for welfare of others or 2) relativism persons emphasis on ethical principles being case by case
Cognitive Moral Develo­pment
Precon­ven­tional, Conven­tional, Post Conven­tional / princi­pled. See Kohlbergs 6 stages of moral develo­pment
Locus of Control
Internal or external perception of control over life events. Taking respon­sib­ility for ones own behaviour
Self interested behaviour
Moral Diseng­agement
Idea that normal people don't partake in bad behaviour unless they have convinced self they are doing the right thing. Judgement of a MD person can not be relied upon

Toward Ethical Action

Script Processing
Cognitive frameworks that guide our thoughts and actions
Cost-B­enefit Analysis
Too simplistic a way of analyzing
No moral dimension


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