Texas Tech University

Nine Basic Steps to Personal Ethical Decision Making

  1. Practice ethical behavior actively. Initiate a personal ethical awareness program, including the definition of personal worldview and review of core ethical values. Remember, the ethical design professional is consistently ethical!
  2. Beware of "new" ethics programs. Very little of true value is "new"; all of the necessary tools are already at your fingertips.
  3. Define the ethical problem when it arises. Ignoring the problem doesn't make the problem go away.
  4. Formulate alternatives. Avoid "first impulse" solutions without having extensive ethical awareness training and experience.
  5. Evaluate the alternatives. Always ask yourself: Are they ethical? Am I the sole beneficiary? How would I feel if the roles or circumstances were reversed?
  6. Seek additional assistance, as appropriate. Turn to previous cases, peers, reliance on personal experience, even prayer if necessary.
  7. Choose the best ethical alternative. Make sure the alternative you choose is the one that does the most good for all the right reasons.
  8. Implement the best alternative. With no initiative comes any result.
  9. Monitor and assess the outcome. Always look at how to improve the next time.

Murdough Center for Engineering Professionalism