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Feedback for Applying Ethical Frameworks

Feedback for Applying Ethical Frameworks

Applying Ethical Frameworks

The 2011 National Business Ethics survey reported that 45% of respondents witnessed ethical
misconduct at work, a record low for the survey; 63% of those respondents reported the misconduct, a
record high. Of those whistleblowers, 22% reported retaliation (Ethics Resource Center, 2012).

These statistics seem to indicate increased attention to ethical business practice. However, they also
point to an ongoing need to continue to strengthen commitment to ethical business practice. Business
professionals and scholars need to know how to face ethical dilemmas and make sound ethical decisions.
DBA students should have a basic understanding of various ethical frameworks and understand how
these frameworks influence real-world business decisions. Northouse (2013) stated, �[e]thical theory
provides a system of rules or principles that guide us in making decisions about what is right or wrong
and good or bad in a particular situation. It provides a basis for understanding what it means to be a

morally decent human being� (p. 424). Ethical values are used daily for decision making in business.
Understanding and analyzing various ethical frameworks will enable you to better solve ethical dilemmas.

Feedback for Applying Ethical Frameworks

Two strengths of my colleague’s analysis
Colleague #3’s analysis has two significant strengths, first of which is that he provides a
framework of the virtues that guided him in arriving at his ethical decisions and the hierarchy of
importance of the various values (Bagozzi, Sekerka & Hill, 2009). This framework is especially
useful for anyone questioning the basis of his ethical decisions and it is a crucial strength in his
solution, despite the final decisions being either ethical or unethical. The decision-making chart
is a perfect example of a leader teaching his followers how to make ethical decisions even in
scenarios that are ambiguous based on a set of values and their personal importance. The second
strength is in the decision, which was totally appropriate as it incorporated all the virtues and
attributes of leaders just as stipulated by Northouse (2013). There was no doubt about the
leader’s decision.
Two weaknesses of my colleague’s analysis and solution
The first weakness identified is in colleague #1’s response. I find it too general, as it does
not recommend any specific actions that the individual faced with the ethical dilemma can take
to resolve the dilemma (Jackson, Wood, & Zboja, 2013). The virtue and deontological ethical
theories might apply in this scenario, but the question remains, how do they apply? The second
weakness identified lies in colleague #2’s response, which gives a lot of detail about what
motivates individuals to choose the ethical response. He clearly states that most individuals are
motivated by their inner need to do what is right or their fear of consequences. His teleological
and deontological solutions are both his strengths and weakness because they advocate for the

individual to act ethically for fear of the consequences of his actions. However, a question arises
as to how the individual would act in a scenario where his actions would have no visible negative
consequences for the accused employee.
Suggestions of ways to improve upon the weaknesses
My suggestion for the improvement of colleague #1’s response is that he should
recommend a specific action that the leader should have taken so as to act ethically in accordance
with the supporting theories he has given (Morales-Sánchez & Cabello-Medina, 2013). An
example of such an action would be the leader saying no to his friend and reporting his actions
based on his virtue of honesty and personal responsibility. My next suggestion is for the
improvement of colleague #2’s response, which I find to be quite appropriate, but I do feel that it
lacks the aspect of the inner personal desire to do what is right. According to Abrhiem (2012),
people are motivated to act ethically based on their sense of duty for what is right or wrong and
my colleague’s response does not take this fully into account. I believe that as a leader he should
have allowed the officers a chance to rethink their actions by making them personally
responsible through articulating the consequences of their actions.
An alternative solution
An alternative solution would be to combine both the strengths of colleague #3’s
response and the weaknesses of the other two colleagues and to combine them with the
suggested improvements. The alternative solution should have a decision-making chart that
clearly explains the decision-making process and highlight the values used by the leader in
making his decision just like #3’s solution suggests. Lastly the solution should incorporate an
element of training where the leader gives the individuals an opportunity to show him that they

have learned how not to make unethical decisions again, just as suggested in the improvements
section (Thiel, Bagdasarov, Harkrider, Johnson & Mumford, 2012).



Abrhiem, T.H. (2012). Ethical leadership: Keeping values in business culture. Business &
Management Review, 2(7), 11-19.
Bagozzi, R., Sekerka, L., & Hill, V. (2009). Hierarchical motive structures and their role in
moral choices. Journal of Business Ethics, 90, 461-486.
Jackson, R., Wood, C., & Zboja, J. (2013). The Dissolution of Ethical Decision-Making in
Organizations: A Comprehensive Review and Model. Journal of Business Ethics, 116(2),
Morales-Sánchez, R., & Cabello-Medina, C. (2013). The Role of Four Universal Moral
Competencies in Ethical Decision-Making. Journal Of Business Ethics, 116(4), 717-734.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and practice (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Thiel, C., Bagdasarov, Z., Harkrider, L., Johnson, J., & Mumford, M. (2012). Leader Ethical
Decision-Making in Organizations: Strategies for Sensemaking. Journal of Business
Ethics, 107(1), 49-64.

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