Ethics in decision making

Topic: Ethics in decision making

Good decisions emerge from pure heart and unbiased approach. Normally decisions are made with two principal methods, the intuitive method and the deductive method. Heart and feelings play the major role in for former method and intellect and reasoning play the dominant role in the later method. Good decisions are often judged not so much by their outcomes as they are by the principles on which they are based( and the process of decision making assumes dominance over all other factors.
Ethical decision-making is based on six basic moral principles: autonomy, non- maleficence, beneficence, justice, fidelity, and veracity. Before taking any decision locate the problem first and then identify the principals involved on which the decision will be based. Deviation from the set standards should be an exception as demanded by the merits of the situation, and not as a rule. Ponder this aspect well, as there are likely to be more than one solution to a problem. Sometimes, no action is also a positive aspect of the solution. Doing it, or not doing are like two arms of the scale of justice. both are equally important.
Each of the six moral principles mentioned above carry value and weightage depending upon the particular circumstances. They are explained in brief thus:
Autonomy: This refers to one’s freedom to take decision as per one’s choice.
Beneficence: This has a philanthropic aspect for the decision. Welfare of others is the supreme consideration.
Non-maleficence: Not hurting others and actions without intentional harm to others.
Justice: Taking decisions without any extraneous considerations on the basis of age, gender, race, religion, nationality, or sex. You are absolutely neutral and decisions are taken only on the basis of merits.
Fidelity: Honoring commitments without avoiding the responsibility one is obliged to perform in a relationship of trust.
Veracity: Refers to truthfulness. This is often used in the medical profession. Violation of this principle will result in loss of creditability and honor. In other words, that indicates an unprofessional approach.
No cut and dry formula exists for application of the principles of ethics for arriving at a decision. It depends upon the exigencies of the circumstances. Welfare of humankind is the foundation stone of the edifice of any good decision.


Doverspike, William F. Article: How to Make Good Decisions