Can Ethical decision making be taught in an ethics class?

When was the last time you attended an ethics class? Was that in school, college or in the company that you work for? Did it contain a lot of theory that could never be converted into practical reality? When the last time you took an ethical decision was there more than one ways to achieve what was expected out of you? Did you think about alternatives? When finally you took the decision how happy were you with its outcome?

Ethics class in the real sense would always demonstrate theoretical guidelines and may be perceived as very boring. The real challenge is to support each guideline with and example and followed by a real time case study.

Ethical classes can be very interesting or boring at the same time. Every company must ensure that first of all they must have special training department that can run the employees with this training. An ethics class is a must for all employees that work for the company.

It is important that they understand the real meaning of ethics and come to agreement with it. It is only in an ethical class that all the queries, questions can be correctly answered. It is these classes where employees must be taught the right ethical decision making process.

Some of the most fundamental things that can be a part of the ethics class are:

  • Define ethics as per the dictionary and why is the company talking about this with the employees.
  • Why is ethics important in a business scenario?
  • When is an employee expected to demonstrate ethics?
  • How can he contribute to companies ethics?
  • Where and who can he come to when he has doubts about the companies ethics or has a conflict in the values?
  • What are the main benefits of ethics to the employee and the company?
  • Share examples from within the organization that depict unethical behavior.
  • What is the ethical framework that the company operates on and what are its key elements?
  • And last but not the least how must an employee go through the decision making process?

The decision making process is the most practical demonstration that an employee can get into in an ethical class.

Quick steps of arriving at an ethical decision:

  • Identify the issue in hand and what are the employees thoughts on it
  • What are the various alternatives available?
  • List down the pros and cons of all and pick the one that weighs the most
  • Arrive a the most ethical decision
  • Implement it
  • Wait for the consequences or outcomes
  • Finally decide if the same can be used in the future under similar circumstances.

Ethics can be very well taught to employees in an ethics class if the aims, objectives and scope of the training are clearly outlined. An evaluation sheet can also be used to see how much has been understood by the employees to give the company a brief idea on ethics understanding and compliance towards it.

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