Topic 1: Moral awareness is the most important element of ethical decision making.
Morality reflects the standard of right and wrong of a person or a group while ethics access the standard and deals with judgment of ones behaviour concerning what is good or bad and about what one ought to do (Ryland 2009).
An ethical decision is legal and morally accepted by the general community (Jones 1991). Factors such as honesty and fairness are important in making ethical decisions. Business ethics however are far more complex because it also involves legal, economical and social considerations (Ferrell & Ferrell 2009).
There are several models in approach to ethical decision making in business. Still, research shows that the model introduce by Jones (1991) based on the four-stage process by Rest (1986) is the nevertheless the most comprehensive synthesis model (Crane & Matten 2007).
Decision Making Process
Figure 1: Ethical decision-making process by Rest (Crane & Matten 2007 pp. 131)
Recognising the moral issue is the primary step in the decision making process. General moral issues like stealing and harassment in the workplace are easily identified but recognising other specific ethical issue may be difficult in practice (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell 2000).
Moral judgement focuses on deciding what is right or wrong (Crane & Matten 200). After the moral agent recognises a moral issue, moral judgement is then made in some form of moral reasoning described by Kohlberg (Trevino & Brown 2004).
Kohlberg believed that people progress through six stages moral developments that are likely to lead to judgements (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell 2000). Individual focus on their own needs and desires then moving on to the group-centered values and conforming to expectations, and finally the basic rights, values and rules of the society (Peterson & Ferrell 2005).
Moral intent is the decision to act upon the judgements made...