Personal Ethical Reflection

Purpose: To help students place their own commitments and values within one or more of the traditional ethical frameworks for decision-making, and to help them understand that different frameworks and approaches may analyze ethical problems in different ways.
Read the content page on ethical guidelines. This assignment will result in a paper of between 2-3 pages, formatting based on APA guidelines. Your final paper should be free of grammatical or spelling mistakes, be logical and coherent, and be written in an academic tone. The goal for you is to describe and assess your ethical framework. Reflect on the intertwined themes of ethical commitments (i.e. your values), ethical behavior, ethical habits, and legal compliance. Consider how religious commitments, if any, (such as the Christian injunction to love one’s neighbor) affect your ethical habits and practices. Below are some points for you to consider as you reflect on your ethical framework. You do not need to address all of these points in your paper.
What counts as an ethical dilemma in the first place? Notice that some business people regard most decisions as outside the scope of ethics because they don’t recognize the ethical values involved. They view the decision as a matter of personal taste, financial expediency, customer relations, or some other allegedly non-ethical concern. Consider the following examples:
The company is having a Christmas party, and they ask you to choose what type of food to order. Does this decision have ethical weight, or is it just a matter of personal taste?
An employee is seeking additional training on a new software package they use in their job, and they ask the company to send them to a three-day training seminar in Chicago. The manager isn’t sure it’s a good expenditure of corporate funds and asks for your advice. Is this decision really just about money, or does it involve ethics?
A customer is displeased with a product they bought from the company, so they complain and ask for a replacement. There is nothing wrong with the product; it is exactly what the customer ordered. It appears the customer is just being unreasonable. You are wondering to yourself if you should incur the extra cost of providing them a replacement. Is this just a customer relations question devoid of ethical context, or are there larger values at stake?
Which of the standard ethical theories occupies the front of your mind when you make decisions? There are discussions of each of these theoretical lenses in both textbooks and in many places on the internet, and in your description of your personal motivations, you should cite one or both books on these topics.
Consequentialist utilitarianism
Deontological, Kantian ethics
Virtue ethics
Some other theory
Beyond ethical theory, what motivates you when you make decisions? Religion? Family? Self-fulfillment?
If a trusted and non-judgmental friend were to observe you for a day, what would they say motivates your behavior? Would their assessment be different than what you claim motivates you?
How much of your decision-making is dictated by rule compliance? Note that rules can occur in several settings:
Legal rules imposed by the government (laws, court decisions, the threat of legal sanction).
Internal rules and policies imposed by organizations (company handbooks, etc.).
Personal behavioral norms that are repeated a sufficient number of timesHow much follow-up do you make on your ethical decisions? Do you go back a week or month later to assess the outcome and consequences of your choice?
You don’t have to address all the questions in this list, but you must demonstrate mature, complete thoughts that dig deeper than superficial claims. Your description of your framework that addresses these questions should be 1-2 pages in APA format and is the first half of the paper.
Once you have described your own approach to ethical decision-making, compare your framework with this example from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics Links to an external Santa Clara University in California. How does your framework differ from the example given? The Santa Clara example may seem quite formal, but does it contain additional considerations that you sometimes don’t think about? Alternatively, you may choose a different exemplar framework from some other source, but if you do you must provide a citation to the source.
Your comparison of how your framework is similar or different from the Santa Clara example should be approximately one double-spaced page, and should follow directly from the description of your personal framework.
Finally, having completed your personal framework description and a comparison to another typical example, conclude your paper with a paragraph or two that highlights what you have learned from the comparison, and how your ethical framework has changed (if at all) in completing the assignment.


Approximately 250 words