ethical decision making

  1. 1.      What does it mean to take a “design approach” to ethical decision making?               

             There are four steps of the design approach to ethical decision making. First, begin with an assumption of uncertainty, and acknowledge the ambiguities. Second, defining the problem too narrowly, simply, or statically may mot address the fundamental factors involved in misconduct. Third, resolving ethical problems always must be done within certain constraints of time and may require pursuing multiple solutions at once. Fourth, ethical problems in public administration almost always take place in an organizational setting that either encourage or impedes ethical conduct, or both. And the ethical problem at hand will certainly give rise to other implications.

  • 2.      What is the difference between a descriptive and a prescriptive ethical decision-making model?

             Descriptive model of decision making: Expressive level, the moral rules level the ethical analysis level , post-ethical level.

Prescriptive model of decision making: 1) Perception of an ethical problem 2) The descriptive Task 3) Identifying alternative courses of action 4) Projecting Probable consequence 5) Finding a fit.

  • 3.      What is the difference between absolutism and relativist approaches to ethics?

The Absolutism is the theory that certain things are right or wrong from an objective point of view and cannot change according to culture. Certain actions are intrinsically right or wrong, which means they are right or wrong in themselves. This is also known as deontological. The relativist is the theory that there are no universally valid moral principles. All principles and values are relative to a particular culture or age. Ethical relativism means that there is no such thing as good “in itself”, but if an action seems good to you and bad to me, that is it, and there is no objective basis for us to discover the truth. This theory is also known as teleological.

  • 4.      What are conflicts of authority?

Conflicts between two or more objective responsibilities imposed on us by two or more sources of authority, such as law, organizational superiors, elected officials, and the public.

  • 5.      What are role conflicts?
  •              Conflicts between the administrative role and one or more of our roles outside the work organization, for example, professional organizations, religious affiliations. Moreover, conflicts between inside role and inside role such as role as supervisor and role as member of department.
  • 6.      Explain the difference between internal and external controls.

People with an internal locus of control, such as entrepreneurs, believe they are masters of their own fate. Those with an external locus of control attribute their behavior and its results to situational forces.

 The following questions are worth two points each.  Each answer should be no longer than one to two pages (typed 12 point font, double-spaced).  Partial credit may be awarded.

 7.      Describe the four historical ethical traditions and how they differ.

Deontological ethics; this is also referred to as the duty based ethics. Deontologists agree or believe that the ethical values tie you to your duty and they also look at the wrongness or rightness of the consequences of the actions done. This ethical practice looks at the people’s fidelity to principle and disregards all the consequences of that action, when trying to determine what is morally right.

Virtue ethics; this ethical tradition focused more on an individual character other than the formal rules or consequences for the actions of the individual. The vital parts of the virtue ethical thinking were majorly based on the ethical thinking of the ancient and also medieval period. Virtue ethics includes detailed account of the purpose of the life of a human being.

Teleological ethics; this refers to those moral theories that hold that the consequences of the actions of any individual, forms the groundwork for whatever moral judgment regarding the particular action. Therefore; a morally right action is the one that gives the best outcome.

Intuition ethics; this is basically based on three grounds. There exists objective moral truths that are very independent to human beings; these are the basic truths that cannot be broken into parts, and thirdly humans discover these truths by using their brains in a specific way. Intuitionism does not imply that all the moral decisions are arrived at by intuition, but intuition only facilitate the discovery of these moral truths.

  • 8.      Please explain the concept of objective responsibility, including forms of objective responsibility.  In your own words, please explain the concept of subjective responsibility, including the meanings of values, beliefs, and attitudes.  Give examples of both.

Subjective responsibility is anchored on our own individual beliefs regarding loyalty, self-conscience, and also identification. Subjective responsibility while undertaking out administrative concerns shows the type of professional ethical one has developed through his or her personal experience. Human beings always believe in being legal, and due to this, we are moved by our conscience to always act in a certain way. For example, one could be faced with a problem on the highway, though one will not have the objective responsibility for trying to reduce dangerous conditions, one might have an immense pressure concerning kids safety. At times, our subjective responsibility always reinforce an individual’s objective responsibility and at times not.

Beliefs could be descriptive, for example “I believe clay is a type of soil”, evaluative “ I believe clay is good for moulding”, or also prescriptive “I believe more research should be carried out to determine the importance of clay in human.” Beliefs always try to develop in us predispositions to try and respond in a certain way to the situations we are facing.

Values are forms of beliefs but are more basic than all the other beliefs. They are more central to our system of belief and hence to our attitude. They are the beliefs on how we should always relate. Values play a critical value in the experience of human beings. Values do not come from our cognitive relationship with the environment but they also shape how we view the world. For example, as an officer of the state you should never accept any form of bribery. Refusing to corrupt is one highly respectable value.


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