The Ethical Decision Making Test

Sometimes the line between what is ethical and what is not becomes slightly blurred. While there are certainly enough unethical managers and leaders in the world’s workplace, there is no reason for you to be amongst their masses.

Sadly, sometimes it is difficult to determine if what you are feeling is unethical or simply complicated. There is, fortunately, a simple test you can apply to yourself, as outlined by the UK Institute of Business Ethics, to determine if the decision you are about to make is truely ethical.

You must simply ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. Would I be proud to share my decision with the public at large (excluding no one)?
  2. Are an aspects of my decision potentially harmful and, if so, are they avoidable?
  3. Would everyone involved, even far reaching stakeholders, consider my decision to be fair?

If you can’t answer these questions honestly (with YES answers) then you need to seriously take a step back and reconsider the actions you’re about to take. If you’re having trouble, go and find a neutral party (someone who doesn’t feel obligated to you in any way) and ask for impartial advice.

Don’t let anyone force you into beleiving that something unethical is anything but and don’t allow yourself to become blinded by the feelings of importance you may have placed upon yourself because of your position, either. As a good leader it’ll be your job, when faced with an unethical decision, to find the ethical solution.

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

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Mark-WilliamsMark Williams

Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.