Ethical Decision Making.

Topics: Decision making, Decision theory, Decision making software Pages: 5 (1245 words) Published: November 6, 2003

Ethical Decision Making

MGT 350: Critical Thinking: Strategies in Decision Making


What is ethics and what place does it have in decision-making? Ethics means different things to each of us. We develop our ethics from our culture, ethnic background, religious beliefs and all that make us unique as humans. Knowing this does not help when we are asked as administrators or managers to make decisions that are jam-packed with ethical dilemmas. Acting as Faith Community Hospital (FCH) administrator I turned to the Santa Clara University website, article "A Framework for Ethical Decision Making". This article gives five steps that I will use to address the problems FCH face. They are: Recognize a moral issue, Get the facts, Evaluate the alternative actions from various moral perspectives, Make a decision, Act, then reflect on the decision later.

Ethical Decision Making

Trying to determine the meaning of ethics is, to say the least, a challenge. My search for that meaning took me to the Santa Clara University website. There I found discussions that I agreed with. Sociologist Raymond Baumhart found that replies to the question "What does ethics mean to you?" was as diverse as those he asked. The answers varied from personal feelings to what is socially acceptable, from religion to legality.

So then, what does it mean to be ethical in your decision-making? Shanks tell us "because we have the ability to be critical of our interpersonal behavior . . . . . we have the ability to develop codes and norms to guide that behavior. Those moral norms and codes, plus a set of virtuous character traits, are what we mean when we talk about ethics." He also tells us that while we all endeavor to make ethical decisions we run into "stumbling blocks" inhibiting our ethical decision-making. He lists the following:

-"My small effort won't really make a difference

-People may think badly of me

-It's hard to know the right thing to do

-My pride gets in the way

-It may hurt my career

-It just went by too quickly

-There's a cost to doing the right thing"

We've all had to face these "stumbling blocks". This is why ethical decision-making is so personal and varied.

In our case study of Faith Community Hospital we came across many issues needing resolution. The majority if not all of them required ethical decision-making. Faith Community had a diverse group of employees, and each of them had their own set of ethical/moral standards. While administration can appreciate those differences, the responsibility to bring unity to the organization falls to them. Putting my self in the role of administrator, how do I accomplish this task? Again, I turn to the Santa Clara University website, to the article "A Framework for Ethical Decision Making". This article gives five steps that I will use, they are:

1.Recognize a moral issue

2.Get the facts

3.Evaluate the alternative actions from various moral perspectives

4.Make a decision

5.Act, the reflect on the decision later

First, recognize a moral issue. At Faith Community there are several issues. They are:

-Staff on both ends of the spectrum of Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders. I have staff that resuscitate when a DNR is in place as well as staff that do not resuscitate when a DNR is not in place.

-Staff refusing treatment to patients without first confirming insurance coverage as well as requiring HIV clearances.

-Unauthorized pro bono treatment and installment payments on prescriptions.

-Unnecessary treatments being performed

Second, get the facts. To some extent the facts speak for themselves. Staff is acting on their individual code of ethics without regard or possibly without knowledge of the hospital's code. With respect to the DNR issues, in all cases the family members were happy, but in this case, as administrator their happiness is not the issue. The legality however is. DNR orders are for the...

References: A Framework for Ethical Decision Making. Retrieved April 21, 2002 from the World Wide Web:
What is Ethics? Retrieved April 21, 2002 from the World Wide Web:
Shanks, T. Everyday Ethics. Issues in Ethics- V.8, N.1. Retrieved April 21, 2002 from the World Wide Web:
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