Case Study on Applying Ethical Frameworks

Applying Ethical Frameworks

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Case Study  on Applying Ethical Frameworks

Applying ethical frameworks to decision-making is very important for those in the area of leadership and management positions, be it in business, academics, or any other area of human endeavor. Leaders and Managers often find themselves embroiled in complex situations where they have to make decisions in a limited amount of time. By understanding the motivations and rationale which govern the thinking process, we can generate consistent guidelines which would ensure better and fairer decisions, which would be for the greater benefit (Ethical behavior is good, n.d.).

But before we create guidelines for ethics, we must understand the framework which is used to define our definition of ethics and on what principles people make ethical decisions. Managers and leaders are under great pressure over the kind of decisions they make, on account of the numerous kinds of stakeholders they have to interact with.  Four theories have been propounded to explain decision-making with respect to moral decisions. This includes consequentialism, virtue ethics, deontological moral theories, and emotional empiricism. The present case study analysis an ethical dilemma which is posed to the participants to understand their ethical decision-making process and deconstructs it in terms of decision-making rationale.(Sekerka and hill, 2009). (Ethical decision making, 2014)

    The ethical dilemma

The ethical dilemma faced by the officers was they had come to know that a fellow officer was falsely charged with committing an unethical act but a close friend of the respondent asked him/her to keep quiet about this to the authorities.


The solution would be to take appropriate action by stating that on obtaining conclusive evidence that the person concerned was innocent, this information would be made available to the authorities at the earliest as it concerned the matter of an innocent person.

Justify the solution

The solution has to be practical as well as fair and just. One cannot keep quiet when an innocent officer is being falsely accused of committing an unethical act but without proof that the person is actually innocent and someone is framing him, the leadership will not accept this claim. In addition, it would lead to accusations of bias and partiality and it would also be disruptive to the integrity and team spirit of the army. This thus seems to be a fair and practical solution, which also takes into account personal integrity, values, and use of sense.

 The reasoning for the solution

The reasonings were used:  personal virtues  ( justice, fairness, loyalty, friendship) long-term consequences, fairness to others and to self, integrity, doing the right thing, self-respect and to set a standard, injustice to a trusty person, the wrong person would escape, finding the truth.

The ethical frameworks 

The ethical frameworks which align with these reasonings include virtue ethics, deontological, consequential, emotional empiricism

  Reasoning in alignment with the ethical frameworks

When we ascribe reasons just as fairness, justice, integrity, loyalty, friendships, doing the right thing, etc, the moral motivations for our actions are based on virtue ethics i.e. based on the personal virtues which our character may possess. When we justify the reasons for our action as based on consequences such as setting the standard, preventing more issues, preventing unwanted loss and damage to the family, we think in terms of consequentialism. When we think in terms of the rightness or wrongness of the action, then it is deontological in nature. As in, in this case, the proposed solution is to investigate the reasons for justifying the officer’s innocence and if valid, confront the senior authorities with it. Here the nature of the act would define the motivation. If we ascribe the motivation for a certain act, out of empathy for the person or situation, then we would say that the reasoning is aligning with emotional empiricism. So we can see, how reasoning often involves the use of the different framework for justification.


Bagozzi, R., Sekerka, L., & Hill, V. (2009). Hierarchical motive structures and their role in moral choices. Journal Of Business Ethics90(4), 461–486.

Entre-ed.org,. (2014). Entrepreneurship Classroom Activities: ETHICAL BEHAVIOR IS GOOD BUSINESS. Retrieved 9 June 2014, from http://www.entre-ed.org/_teach/ethics.htm

Uri.edu,. (2014). Ethical Decision Making. Retrieved 9 June 2014, from http://www.uri.edu/research/lrc/scholl/webnotes/Ethics.htm

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