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Monday, June 1, 2009

Ethical Decision Making #2

A few years ago, I took a class called "Ethics in Organizational Leadership" and it was one of the most directly applicable classes I have ever taken.

During the weeks of reading, writing, collaborating and discussing, I learned so much about myself and my normal propensity towards decision making.

The learnings from this class have been very helpful in my decision making from that time even until today.

This is the second of three posts, that I am devoting to some writings I did in that class where I looked at three different ethical decision making models.

My hope and prayer is that one of these models will be an effective tool to aid others in the decisions they may be working through...

Compare and Contrast three Ethical Decision Making Models The three ethical decision making models outlined in this paper are taken from the following sources…

· Moral Choices, Rae (1995)
· Just Business, Hill (1997)
· The Discipline of Building Character, Badaracco (1998)

Each model helps give a process that will prove helpful in making ethical decisions. Each model also emphasizes the fact that doing the right thing, and making ethical decisions are not always easy, and many times require us to look deeply at who we are, and what shapes us personally.

In these posts I outline the basic premise of each model, as well as compare and contrast the models.

2. Just Business, Hill (1997)

The premise of the book Just Business as it relates to making ethical decisions is summed up in the fact that God is perfect and man is not. Thus, we need to rely on God’s guiding principles in all areas of life, especially making ethical decisions.

The author states that “The foundation of Christian ethics in business is not rules but the changeless character of God.” He further points out that “Behavior consistent with God’s character is ethical – that which is not is unethical.” The model that permeates the book is based on the fact that principles of God’s character are what man should strive to implement in his life.

The three main components of that character are…
• Holiness
• Justice
• Love

The author uses an illustration of a three legged stool to paint a picture of the balance that holiness, justice and love bring as one seeks to make ethical decisions.

Hill elaborates on each component and provides helpful insight, thoughtful questions, and scripture backing for the fact that God is Holy, God is Just and God is Loving, and if we as flawed human beings want to make ethical decisions we need to strive to be imitators of God’s character.

The major comparison I saw between this model and the model outlined in Moral Choices is the fact that God’s principles carry more weight than man’s principles when making ethical decisions.

Step three in the Moral Choices model encourages the infusion of the Biblical principles of God’s character that Just Business talks about by asking the question “How can I emulate God’s character of Holiness, Justice and Love in this ethical decision?”

The major contrast I saw between these two models was that Moral Choices seemed to outline a more logical, step by step process, in determining ethical decisions and Just Business seemed to be suggesting that we need to develop a lifestyle that models the character of God, and as we face ethical decisions we will be more likely to know what the best course of action is based on God’s leading in our lives.

Constantly seeking to make wise decisions,
Brent

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