Ethical Theories Power Point

Ethical Theories &
Decision-Making Models
 The Three Principles
 The Potter Box
 The Bok Model
 The Nine Checkpoints
 The Ten Questions
The Three Principles
#1 – Ends-Based Thinking:
“Do what’s best for the greatest number of
#2 – Rule-Based Thinking:
“Follow your higher sense of principle.”
#3 – Care-Based Thinking:
“Do what you want others to do to you.”
Ends-Based Thinking
 What will eventually
happen if this decision
is made?
 What are the possible
 With that in mind, what
decision benefits the
greatest number of
Rule-Based Thinking
 What is the universally
decision?(universal law)
 What standards should
be followed regarding
this decision?
Care-Based Thinking
 Imagine yourself in their
 What would we want
done to us in this
(examine all stakeholders)
The Potter Box
Understanding the FACTS
 Discuss all the facts of the case with those involved in
making the decision.
 What are the facts?
Outlining VALUES
 What is valued by those making the decisions? How
does this impact the ethical decision?
 When an idea or principle is valued, it means one is
willing to give up something for it.
 Once it is decided what is valued, philosophical
principles should be applied.
 Examine – Aristotle's’ Golden Mean, Kant’s Categorical
Imperative, and Utilitarianism.
Articulation of LOYALTIES
 Examine loyalties and see if any conflict.
 Make ethical decision based on this process.
The Bok Model
1.) Consult your own conscience – about the “rightness” of an
How do you feel about the action?
2.) Seek expert advice – for alternatives to the act creating the
ethical problem.
Is there another way to achieve the same goal that will not raise
ethical issues?
3.) Conduct a public discussion – with the parties involved in the
dispute. If they cannot be gathered, conduct the discussion
How will others respond to the proposed act?
The Nine Checkpoints
1.) Recognize that there is a moral issue – What is the true ethical
2.) Determine the actor – Whose moral or ethical issue is it?
3.) Gather the relevant facts – What are the important facts for
the ethical dilemma?
4.) Test for right versus wrong issues – Is there a clearly right or
wrong answer?
5.) Test for right versus right paradigms – What sort of dilemma is
(truth vs. loyalty, self vs. community, short-term vs. long-term or
justice vs. mercy)
The Nine Checkpoints
6.) Apply the resolution principles – What are some of the
possible resolutions to the dilemma?
(Use Aristotle’s Golden Mean, Kant’s Categorical Imperative
and Utilitarianism to reason)
7.) Investigate the “trilemma” options – Is there a third way
through this dilemma?
8.) Make the decision – After applying checkpoints #1-7, what is
the best possible resolution?
9.) Revisit and reflect on the decision – After the decision was
made and the consequences have occurred, ask was this the
best decision?
The Ten Questions
• What do I know? What do I need to know?
• What is my journalistic purpose?
• What are my ethical concerns?
• What organizational policies and professional
guidelines should I consider?
• How can I include other people, with different
perspectives and diverse ideas, in the decisionmaking process?
The Ten Questions
• What are the stakeholders – those affected by my
decision? What are their motivations? Which are
• What if the roles were reversed? How would I feel if I
were in the shoes of one of the stakeholders?
• What are the possible consequences of my actions?
Short term? Long term?
• What are my alternatives to maximize my truth-telling
responsibility and minimize harm?
• Can I clearly and fully justify my thinking and my
decision? To my colleagues? To the stakeholders? To
the public?
Works Cited
The Nine Checkpoints:
Kidder, R. (2003). How good people make tough choices. New York: Harper
The Three Principles, The Potter Box & The Bok Model –
Wilkins, L., & Patterson, P. (2008). Media ethics: Issues and cases. (6th ed.).
McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
10 Questions Before Publication – Created by ASNE Ethic’s Committee
“That does not mean, however, that there is
no logical and sequential process for ethical
decision-making. True, we may not be aware
that a pattern exists, but that does not mean
that there is no pattern…Developing real skill
at ethics requires that intelligence fuse with
intuition, that the process be internalized, and
that decisions be made quickly, and
~ Rushworth Kidder

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