Ethical Frameworks

Understand the foundational ethical principles that stem from different cultural philosophical, and religious traditions

Week two discussion post: How do Islamic OR Confucian OR Taoist OR Buddhist traditions relate to some of the approaches to ethics or moral reasoning you read this week? What do you think are the differences between ethics as (or in) a religious tradition and ethics as an intellectual (or secular) pursuit?


Week Two Collaboration Post: Research and provide a definition for the following: altruism, consequentialism/utilitarianism and egoism. Choose ONE as the basis for a rationale for how it applies to personal and organizational ethics. How does the one you chose compare and differ from the work of Kant?



Rationale and Application
By week two we are internalizing the fundamentals of ethics and the three main areas of moral philosophy: the value theory, normative ethics, and metaethics. We have been introduced to hedonism, moral constraints, utilitarianism, egoism, Kant, moral reasoning, moral rules and moral ideals. Natural law and ethics of duty are also introduced. We are realizing that all religious traditions address basic morality in some way and that they are all similar. We are starting to form opinions based on these fundamentals: “I believe, that this is simply because we are all part of a whole, all cut from the same cloth, and we are all part of one, human race. I think ethics, from an intellectual standpoint, is philosophical and focuses on the human condition, whether good or bad. From this view, it is a dialogue versus a rule.  Religious traditions are generally designed as guidelines for us to follow in times of trial. Religious tradition is also very philosophical yet it focuses heavily on the potential failure of human’s to meet moral standards, thus, offering some guidelines or help. Neither is good or bad or better or worse. They have different applications” (Corpuz 2016). Week two’s posts and discussions show that we are understanding different ethical principles and their philosophical and religious roots. Our differing perspectives prove that we are perceiving based on our own realities and social worlds, comparing and contrasting to our own experiences. I am asking myself about what the definition is of moral vs. immoral, but I am not necessarily finding an answer. Pondering the question, however, is progress.

Many philosophies, truths and constraints exist for morality and ethics. I generally relate to the Bible, which is the only “law” or “truth” in which I have been exposed in my Christian religion. Gaining a broad knowledge of different moral principles and how they originated, whether religiously or secularly, helps me to build a larger foundation and a more robust perspective.


Develop personal character, virtue, values and philosophy

Assignment One: One way to operationalize a set of ethics is to focus on one’s virtue and character development. This is not the easiest of tasks. We have a set of virtues, or more commonly, we lack a set of virtues that come into play when it comes to dealing with different types of situations in our life. Very few people have sat down and defined what it means to be virtuous. Not only will you examine and choose your virtues, you will also take the time to practice and critique them in the real world. The assignment should bear the following guidelines in mind and the finished product should touch on the following dimensions:

  • (a) your conception of what a virtuous life is and how your own evolving life reflects and/or fails to reflect that conception (use specific examples from your life and your career that display the conception or, on the contrary, are at odds with it)
  • (b) how that conception is consistent with your own evolving sense of your own conception of leadership;
  • (c) how that conception can inform the practical decisions you make in your life and your career;
  • (d) in what ways this conception is distinctive and reflects (or fails to reflect) your unique identity, personality, family, goals, aspirations, etc…

The finished assignment ought to be thoughtful, carefully crafted, clear and demonstrate evidence of what you have learned in the course thus far, what you have reflected on and discussed during the course, and what you may have learned from classmates during the course.  EF Assignment 1 Scorpuz (1)

Rationale and Application
For our first assignment of the term, we were to focus on virtue and character to operationalize our set of ethics. We had to look deep into ourselves and think about what defines us, our virtues and our character. Upon doing this, we are now better able to find and articulate our own definition of morality. Going through this exercise did help me to define these things for myself, based on my culture, my upbringing and my environment. It is important to note that this will be different from someone else’s definition because our cultures, upbringing and environments vary. The tool I used in my assignment was Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development (Kohlberg 2013) and I used it to show how I have progressed in my own moral development. This reflection also posed a valid question? Do we ever progress to the highest level? I like to think we can but the only examples I can give are Ghandi, Jesus, the Dalai Lama, and Mandella.

Generally, we lack a clear sense of virtue and this affects how we handle situations. Just contemplating our own virtues and transferring them to paper helps set me on the path of becoming the virtuous person about which I am writing. Dr. Cervantez stated that very few people write down what it means to be virtuous to them. By experiencing this process of articulating thoughts and turning them into written words, we process what virtues are important and identify those by which we want to live. I chose courage, temperance, compassion, generosity and self-control. Going forward, when I am faced with unfortunate situations, if I can remember my virtues and strive to live them out in the interaction, I can only improve my character.


Identify, analyze and resolve common moral dilemmas that you will face as a leader

Collaboration Discussion, Week Five: Research and find an example based on a contemporary ethical dilemma that involves a right vs. right decision. Post the example with a synopsis of the “defining moments” and the involved reasoning process. Based on your analysis, offer a solution to the dilemma that reflects this week’s course material.




Rationale and Application
Being able to identify a modern-day example of a moral dilemma and offer solutions shows that we are well on our way to mastering the above learning objective. In week five’s post and discussions, I chose a right-vs.-right (RvR) dilemma as I believe those are the type I typically face in reality. We recently learned about Joseph Badaracco’s reasoning process when attempting to resolve RvR situations and his four question framework. This is an excellent tool for thinking through an ethical dilemma. I applied Badarracco’s framework and resolved the dilemma, which had to do with a father’s very real struggle of balancing work and time with his son. As a working parent and student, I deal with this similar dilemma almost daily.

Due to the course material I have become better at logically making decisions when faced with ethical dilemmas. Badaracco’s tool will forever be my guide until I discover a better model. Understanding that I am not always going to make the right decision for everyone, but knowing that I will do my best not to harm, serve other’s rights, stay true to my values and commitments, and to do what is ethical, not necessarily legal means I have progressed well in Kohlberg’s stages and that is all in which I wish to strive.


Identify and evaluate common barriers to ethical decision making

Dialogue Post, Week Six: Think of an example in your organization or from professional experience that presents a legal predicament that has an ethical dimension. Describe the legal and ethical aspects of the case. What are the legal/moral options? What is the morally right action? Finally, consider whether the legally right action is always the ethically right action?


Rationale and Application
There are many common barriers to making ethical decisions, the one we focused upon was failing to understand that just because something is legal, does not mean it is ethical. Some others include failing to integrate ethics into the way of doing business, believing one is above the law (hubris), rushing to judgment, and believing that just because everyone else does it, it is ethical. In the discussion post I shared how ING found themselves in some big debt, changed their name, and knowingly re-introduced themselves to the world as one of the most ethical companies in the world. This action may be legal but I find it unethical. We didn’t discuss overcoming the barriers, but I would like to add some ways in which this can be done in the organization:

  • Establish ethical standards, expectations, and a written code of conduct. Rethink the code of conduct regularly, to ensure that it is current with ethical demands.
  • Hire ethical people. Consider presenting ethical dilemmas as part of your organization’s interview process.
  • Cultivate a relationship with a trusted colleague within or outside your organization who can provide candid, honest feedback regarding the appearance of your personal and professional conduct. Invite colleagues to continually review and enhance your ethical culture.
  • Serve as a role model of ethical standards.
  • Complete an ethics self-assessment from time to time and address areas that need improvement.
  • Establish an ethics committee to address both clinical and business ethics issues.
  • Require ethics training and education of all employees and staff. Ensure that training and education are up to date and widely disseminated. Use of real-life cases has proven to be an especially effective teaching methodology.
  • Ensure compliance with ethical standards that includes enforcement, reprimands for improper actions, and rewards for ethical conduct (Perry, F. 2013 p.5).

We discussed these points in our Professional Assessment course and I feel they are worth revisiting in ethical frameworks. This artifact presents my knowledge of common barriers to ethical decision making and how to avoid or overcome them.

The discovery is in that law and ethics are related, however, they are not equal and the relationship is very complex. The fact that just because something is legal does not mean it is ethical is a fact that all people need to know. This reminds me of Kohlberg’s stages and the universal principle:  “right” is determined by individual ethical principles, not necessarily what society or the law says is right. Philosophers and religious intellectuals have been discussing the concept for centuries.


Demonstrate the ability to develop, evaluate, and defend an ethical position

Assignment Three: Identify an ethical problem, dilemma or scenario where a leadership decision had to be made:

  • Using the readings and other materials from this course, identify and define the legal and ethical aspects of the chosen problem or dilemma.
  • Describe the problem or dilemma, the participants, and the roles of the participants.
  • State and explain your personal ethical position on the problem/dilemma. Where do you stand? Why? Incorporate course material where relevant in explaining your ethical perspective.
  • Develop a plan to resolve the problem. Detail each step of the resolution process. Incorporate course material where relevant.
  • Defend how the plan is consistent with your personal ethical position. Draw on the ethical theories discuss in this course to defend your position.
  • Predict two possible negative outcomes that could arise and and how you would overcome them.
  • Describe the potential impact for each participant listed in section 1.

EF Assign. 3 ACA moral solution SCorpuz

Rationale and Application
Our final paper was a task that showcased how well we internalized the course material and our ability to organize our thoughts and translate them into words. Not an easy task when so many theories, principles, constructs and questions are floating around in one’s mind after nine weeks of accelerated learning. I chose the subject in which I had been focusing which is a topic about which I feel very strongly. The American Care Act (ACA) also known as Obama Care. The project demonstrates my ability to identify legal and ethical aspects of a modern circumstance, evaluate and state my perspectives and discuss how my position is the most ethical one. In addition, I had to create a realistic and achievable strategy for addressing the flaws of the act and modifying the legislation so it reflects an ethically sound foundation. The project has not been graded yet, so I don’t know how my professor felt about my mastery of the course material, but I feel I have a strong handle on the learning objectives and feel the paper reveals this in all aspects.

It has been a nine-week road of preparing for this final assignment and getting to the point where I can identify, analyze, develop and evaluate the ethical and legal aspects of a contemporary issue… this is a big step forward. Not to mention providing a strategy for resolution. Learning the course material, the additional research, and the time put into this final project are all a testament to my progress as a student. My thought process and behaviors have been impacted as well and I find myself going through arguments to determine if they are morally sound, contain fallacies or flaws, or even seem logical. This course has given me the knowledge and the confidence to evaluate and make ethical decisions on my own. I am very grateful.

Shafer-Landau, R. (2015). The Fundamentals of Ethics. New York: Oxford University Press.

Dell’Olio, A. J., & Simon, C. J. (2010). Introduction to Ethics. Plymouth, United Kingdom: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Lama, Dalai. (nd.) Video: Dalai Lama’s Guide to Happiness. Retrieved from: .

Kohlberg, L. (2013). Video: Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development. Retrieved from:

Badaracco, J. (2015). John Shad Professor of Business Ethics at Harvard Business School Retrieved from:

Buell, J. M. 2009. “Ethics and Leadership.” Healthcare Executive 24 (3): 54–56. Crisp, R. (ed.). 2000. Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge  University Press.

Dean, D., and C. Webb. 2011. “Recovering from Information Overload.” McKinsey Quarterly January. Accessed July 3, 2012. _print.aspx?L2=18&L3=31&ar=2735.

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Gershon, H., and G. Buerstatte. 2003. “The E in Marketing: Ethics in the Age of Misbehavior.” Journal of Healthcare Management 48 (5): 292–94.

Hosmer, L. T. 1995. “Brief Summaries of Ten Ethical Principles.” Academy of Management Review 20 (2): 396–97.

Nash, L. 2009. Ethics Without the Sermon. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.

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Rice, J., and F. Perry. 2013. Healthcare Leadership Excellence: Creating a Career of Impact. Chicago: Health Administration Press.

Van Hook, S. 2013. “Ethical Public Relations: Not an Oxymoron.” All About Public Relations. Accessed April 30.



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