Ethical Decision Making


Write a 350- to 700-word summary. Include the following in your summary:

Discuss an event in which you had to make an ethical decision.

Identify at least two ethical theories that support your decision.

Discuss the problem-solving methodologies you used to resolve the issue.

Identify how ethical theories impact professional or personal decision making.

Use APA formatting with two references.


Ethical Decision Making

People encounter ethical dilemmas often for which it is difficult to make a decision. Some of the ethical dilemmas encountered are common while others are unique. While working part-time as a bank teller, I came upon a shocking revelation for which I did not seem to have an immediate solution – I realized that my best friend at the local bank would take money from dormant accounts or other accounts of unsuspecting customers and then later return the money. When I confronted him about the situation, he said he always returns the money and that is why no customer has ever filed a complaint with the bank. At the time of the realization, he had taken $5000 for which he was gradually repaying. As per the banking policy, such acts were punishable through termination of employment or even a jail term. After much deliberation and thought, I had to raise the issue to the management for appropriate action. Luckily, my friend was put on compulsory leave and then transferred to another branch.

The decision I made was based on utilitarianism ethical model of decision making. The utilitarian ethical theories are hedged on the ability of the individual involved to predict the future consequences of a particular action (Graham, 2004). The utilitarian ethical model holds that an action is right only if it has the greatest benefits to the majority of people. In consider the actions of my friend, I reckoned that his behavior would impact a majority of the customers purely for self-interest. The deontological theory also played a part in my decision making. The deontological school asserts that the correctness of a particular action or decision can be judged based on the legal obligations or duties that one ought to follow (Graham, 2004). In this case, upholding the specified duty of care is what can be termed as ethically correct. In withdrawing money from customer’s account without their notice, my friend was clearly not following the law or acting as per his duty of care.

One of the problem-solving methodologies I used is the Deming Cycle. The Deming Cycle is a four-step process that can be used in organizations to improve particular processes. The four steps are Plan, Do, Check, and lastly Act (Roughton & Mercurio, 2002). . The acronym given to the cycle is PDCA. The first step involves identifying the nature of the problem and the possible remedies as well as the consequences. The second step involves implementing the possible solutions to the problem. In my case, the solution was to report the case to the management. The third step is to check. This involves an analysis of whether the identified solution is working. If there is no effective change, a different plan is devised. In case the management did not take appropriate action, I would have come up with a different plan such as reporting the matter to the board. The 5-step model is another useful methodology of problem-solving. The five steps are: identifying the problem, devising a plan, considering the consequences, devising a strategy, and measuring the effectiveness (Roughton & Mercurio, 2002).

Ethical theories impact the decision making process by providing guidelines on how the decisions should be made. By using the ethical theories, individuals are able to weight the consequences of their actions. For instance, utilitarian theories assert that decisions are correct only if they are of benefit to the greater majority. Ethical theories enables individuals make tough decisions without bias. For instance, they encourage individuals to look at the consequences of actions and to disregard other things such as the relationship between the persons involved. Lastly, ethical theories help individuals make the right decisions.


Graham, G. (2004). Eight Theories of Ethics. Psychology Press.

Roughton, J. E., & Mercurio, J. J. (2002). Developing an effective safety culture: A leadership     approach. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.