Framework for Making Ethical Decisions: The Six-Step Guide for Ethical Success

How to make those gut-wrenching decisions that make us face our ethical foundation

By Matt Battaglia

May 31 2016 at 12:05 a.m.

Every day, leaders have to make decisions. Some of these are basic and require little to no processing. As much as we probably wish those were the only decisions we have to make, we still have to make those gut-wrenching decisions that make us face our ethical foundation. These are the decisions that make us second-guess if we will make a mistake, ruin a relationship or break our internal laws and lead us astray from our moral compass. When faced with these decisions, there is a framework from various studies and standard knowledge that can be used to make those ethical decisions.


Step 1
Identify the problem and the potential issues involved.


Step 2
Answer the ethical decision-making questions mentioned in our previous article, 5 Approaches to Ethical Decision Making. These questions help individuals reflect and relate to the various approaches for making ethical decisions, which include utilitarian, rights, justice/fairness, common good and virtue. 


Step 3
Apply relevant laws and regulations. Does this decision violate any policies within our company? The government?


Step 4
Obtain consultation by recognizing who the relevant parties are.


Step 5
List the consequences of the probable courses of action.


Step 6
Decide on what appears to be the best course of action.


Matt Battaglia is business efficiency expert and Engagement Specialist with People Centric Consultant Group that helps businesses create clear direction, intuitive processes, and motivated employees.