Unethical Decision-Making Essay Example | 668 Words

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Unethical Decision-Making Essay Example

Unethical Decision-Making Essay Example

Unethical decision-making can happen to a variety of employees in the workplace. Employees do this for several reasons, such as incompetence, ignorance, misinformation, etc. There are also several conditions in which a professional is more vulnerable to unethical decisions. Some examples of these conditions include loyalty conflicts, conflicting ethical principles, inadequate sources of guidance, etc. This paper will focus mostly on misinformation and conflicting ethical principles.

Misinformation is false information that is intended to deceive others. In the mental field, for example, a client may tell their therapist that they are experiencing some trouble sleeping. Even though they are not, the therapist may refer them to a psychiatrist, who will prescribe them medication. The client receives the medication and misuses it, resulting in deceit.

Ethical principles conflict when there is no clear and right response. An example of this would be a supervisor telling an intern in a therapist’s office that they are doing a great job, even though they are struggling. This would be the kind thing to say, even though it is not true.

Misinformation about medication has been a common practice. An early examination of this was the use of aspirin to reduce heart disease. As aspirin is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication, it allows people to buy it freely and not get all the information on it. OTC medications had few statements about the risks and many more about their benefits (Krishna & Thompson, 2021).

To prevent this misinformation, scholars have looked into networks that have spread this and have controlled what is said about these medications by using health professionals and government sources, like the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Scholars have been trying to counteract the misinformation by creating health messages about contraceptives and providing statistical evidence of effectiveness to clear up the misconceptions.

The scholars have also informed clinicians’ to clarify the benefits and risks of the medications they prescribe (Krishna & Thompson, 2021). Clinicians’ may sometimes omit the consequences of certain medications so that they can possibly make more money, resulting in misinformation for their benefit.

Many psychologists question whether the profession provides them with ethical guidance. According to Allan (2015), this is because their colleague’s professional ethics differ from each other. Psychologists experience moral uncertainty, and when this occurs, the social contract between psychology and society is expressed.

Society is to be protected, and following society’s standards is necessary, or they would be disciplined. Some observers in society have noticed that wrong decisions are due to intellectual error and one not knowing that they are trying to do good by themselves and others (Rossy, 2011).

An example of conflicting ethical principles in a therapist setting could be a mental health specialist trying to help clients with their problems by telling them a hurtful truth. The specialist knows that it is what the client needs to hear, but the client may have conflicting views toward the specialist, even though it will help them in the long run.

Rossy (2011) noted that one can prevent conflicting ethical principles by using moral intuition. This intuition tells one whether something is right or wrong. Therefore, to prevent conflicting ethical principles, one must understand that our judgment is a good indicator of the right choice.

Anyone working with clients with mental problems can experience making an unethical decision. There are numerous reasons and conditions one in the psychiatry field may make an unethical decision. Misinformation and conflicting ethical principles are two of these. Misinformation can occur when someone is trying to deceive others into benefiting themselves. Ethical principles conflict when one is unsure of their response to a situation.

To prevent both of these from leading to an unethical situation, clinicians’ should be sure of the medications they are prescribing, make sure the information their clients are telling them is true, and understand that their judgment is typically a good indicator of what choice should be made. Unethical decisions are not always avoidable, but finding ways to determine the best way to make the right choice can be thorough one’s own moral judgment


Allan, A. (2015). Ethics in Psychology and Law: An International Perspective.

Ethics Behavior, 25(6), 443–457.

Krishna, A. Thompson, T.L. (2021). Misinformation about health: A review of health communication and misinformation scholarship. American Behavioral Scientist, 65(2), 316-332.

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Frequently Asked Questions on the Topic


What does unethical decision-making mean?

Unethical behavior is defined as behavior that deviates from what is considered proper for a person, profession, or industry. Individuals, businesses, professionals, and politicians can all act unethically.

What are ethical issues in decision-making?

Ethics in decision-making impacts the choices of words and actions

  • Right motivation with the right action.
  • Right motivation with the wrong action.
  • Wrong motivation with right action.
  • Wrong motivation with the wrong action.

What is an example of ethical decision-making?

Ethical behavior implies that a person is truthful and forthright in all communications, whether written or oral. A salesperson who describes potential problems with a product is being truthful. A customer service representative accepts responsibility for failing to carry out a service action is making an ethical choice.

Why is ethical decision-making important?

Ethical decisions foster and sustain trust, demonstrate respect, accountability, fairness, and concern, and are consistent with good citizenship. By establishing the ground rules for our behavior, these behaviors lay the groundwork for making better decisions.

What are the risks of making unethical decisions?

Individuals and organizations are both affected by unethical behavior. You may lose your job and reputation, your organization’s credibility may suffer, general morale and productivity may suffer, or the behavior may result in significant fines and/or financial loss.

What is unethical decision-making in business?

Unethical decisions can destroy a company. Falsifying financials, overbilling, or misleading marketing can tarnish a company’s reputation, resulting in customer and revenue loss. Unethical behavior is illegal in some cases and can result in fines and even jail time for executives.

How can we make ethical decision-making and action?

8 steps to make ethical decision-making and action

  1. Step 1: Identify the problem

Sometimes simply recognizing that a situation is ethical is a critical first step. Occasionally, in our organizations, we may believe it is simply the “way of doing business” and fail to consider the ethical implications.

  1. Step 2: Identify the potential issues involved

Who could get hurt? What issues could negatively impact people and/or the company? What is the worst-case scenario if we choose to do nothing?

  1. Step 3: Review the relevant ethical guidelines

Are our policies and procedures in place to deal with this situation? For example, if a client gives you a gift, there may be a rule stating whether you are allowed to accept gifts and, if so, the value limit of the gift you are allowed to accept.

  1. Step 4: Know relevant laws and regulations

If the company doesn’t necessarily have a rule against it, could it be considered illegal?

  1. Step 5: Obtain consultation

Seek help from supervisors, coworkers, friends, and family, especially from people you believe to be moral and ethical.

  1. Step 6: Consider possible and probable courses of action

What are all of the potential solutions to the problem? During this phase, brainstorm a list of solutions—all solutions are options.

  1. Step 7: List the consequences of the probable courses of action

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each proposed solution? Who might be affected by the decision?

  1. Step 8: Decide on what appears to be the best course of action

The final step is to choose the best course of action based on the facts and analysis. There may not always be a “perfect” solution, but the best solution appears to produce the most good while causing the least harm.

How do our decisions affect others?

Every decision we make sets in motion a series of events. The more significant the decision, the more life-changing the chain of events for the decision-maker and those around them. The effect can be positive or negative, but there is always a repercussion.

What are everyday ethical decisions examples?

  • Taking credit for others’ work
  • Offering a client a worse product for your own profit
  • Utilizing inside knowledge for your own profit
  • Should parents monitor teens’ social media activities?
  • Reporting an accident.
  • Ghosting in the workplace.
  • Medical care versus religious beliefs.
  • Misinterpret data deliberately?
  • Share my political leanings and risk losing clients?

Which is an example of an unethical decision?

A manager, for example, may lie to a customer about a contract. If the employee witnesses this, they may believe they have the same right. Employees may also be afraid to defy their boss for fear of losing their job. They may also be reluctant to report unethical behavior for fear of repercussions.

What are examples of unethical behavior in business?

30 examples of unethical behavior in business

  1. Exploiting workers
  2. Over-billing customers
  3. Exploiting tax loopholes
  4. Dumping toxins into the air or water
  5. Prescribing unnecessary medical procedures
  6. Covering up car defects
  7. Designing phones so that users accidentally accept data charges
  8. Creating fake identities
  9. Misuse of company time. Whether it is covering for someone who shows up late or altering a timesheet, misusing company time tops the list
  10. Abusive Behavior
  11. Employee Theft
  12. Lying to employees
  13. Violating Company Internet Policies
  14. Racial discrimination
  15. Sexual harassment
  16. Using social media to chat at work
  17. Using company emails to send private messages
  18. Pollution
  19. Selling defective products
  20. Quoting wrong prices
  21. Withholding important information
  22. Financial fraud
  23. Dishonesty
  24. Breach of data privacy
  25. Nepotism
  26. Compelling juniors to engage in sexual activities
  27. Using company resources for personal use
  28. Violating company policy and rules
  29. Drug use or sale
  30. Abusive behavior

Why is ethical decision-making difficult?

Decision-making necessitates a high level of value clarity; ethical decision-making necessitates even more! Unlike financial, inventory, and production decisions, ethical decisions cannot be programmed into digital machines. They necessitate critical thinking and evaluative skills.

How does ethical decision-making affect your daily living?

When you make ethical decisions, you take into account the feelings and needs of others. You can make an ethical decision by treating your customers with respect. In many cases, you will be referred to by others. Being ethical contributes to the development of trust.

How can ethical decision-making be improved?

  1. Create a code of ethics and make ethical performance a strategic priority. A relevant code of ethics, conduct, or similar policy that establishes clear goals, standards, and expectations is a must for ethical performance. A code must be supported by an emphasis on ethical performance in larger decision-making.
  2. Set the tone from the beginning. Senior management teams must demonstrate leadership and demonstrate that they are living the organization’s ethical values. Only after that will employees be able to work together to ensure that the entire organization lives those values.
  3. Engage, communicate, and train your employees. Through effective and informative communication, engage staff and other stakeholders such as suppliers, investors, regulators, and consumer communities. Good, consistent communication and training will aid in the establishment of an ethical culture.
  4. Provide staff with support channels. Organizations must establish clear reporting channels for suspected fraud and violations of company policies on ethical behavior. Too many organizations are lacking in this area and must implement a zero-tolerance policy.
  5. Assess the efficacy of your ethics program. Organizations must measure their ethical performance and foster open discussion to ensure best practices.

What is the importance of decision-making?

Strong decision-making speeds up problem resolution and positions decision-makers as leaders. Strong decisions should be unbiased and free of any emotional influences that might cause us to overlook flaws. Such decision-making should be transparent and logical as well.

What are the impacts of unethical behavior?

You may lose your job and reputation, your organization’s credibility may suffer, general morale and productivity may suffer, or the behavior may result in significant fines and/or financial loss.

What causes unethical behavior?

Exposure to misbehaving in-group members or others who benefit from unethical actions, greed, egocentrism, self-justification, incremental dishonesty, loss aversion, challenging performance goals, or time pressure increases unethical behavior.

What are unethical actions?

Unethical behavior deviates from what is morally proper for a person, profession, or industry. Individuals, businesses, professionals, and politicians can all act unethically.

How can we prevent unethical decision-making?

  1. Establish straightforward guidelines. You should develop an easily understood yet comprehensive code of conduct that outlines company expectations for ethical behavior at work
  2. Promote knowledge
  3. Provide tools
  4. Be proactive
  5. Employ data monitoring
  6. Foster ethical behavior

How can unethical behavior affect a company?

Unethical behavior has serious consequences for both individuals and organizations. You may lose your job and reputation, organizations may lose credibility, general morale and productivity may suffer, or the behavior may result in significant fines and/or financial loss.

What causes unethical behavior in the workplace?

The primary cause of unethical behavior is a failure to maintain the type of consistent leadership required to run an ethical organization. This exposes employees to opportunities to engage in unethical behavior.

How does a bad decision affect one’s life?

A bad decision hurts one’s life. Actually, our success is dependent on the decision we make right now. If we make the wrong decision, we must repent because it ruins countless happy moments in our lives. Our failure leads to disappointment, and we lose sight of the essence of life.

What is negative decision-making?

Negative decision-making has little room for planning because it is based on the absence of negative consequences. Negative decision-making is often haphazard and reactionary. Positive decision-making necessitates extensive planning and is proactive.

Can a bad decision make a positive outcome? Why or why not?

Good decisions do not always have a positive outcome, and bad decisions do not always have a negative outcome. Sometimes good decisions have bad outcomes. And sometimes, good things come from bad choices. Learning to tell the difference between when you’re brilliant and when you’re lucky is the key to rapid improvement.

What makes a person act ethically or unethically?

Unethical behavior is actions that violate social norms or are deemed unacceptable by the general public. The polar opposite of unethical behavior is ethical behavior. Ethical behavior adheres to the majority of social norms, and such actions are accepted by the general public.

How do we decide what is right and wrong?

It is the belief that by listening to our conscience, we can determine the ethical value of right and wrong. That quiet, small voice within tells us whether something is right or wrong.

What questions do you need to ask yourself during unethical situations?

Is it legal? The purpose of this question is to get you to look at existing standards

Is it balanced?

How will it make me feel about myself?

Why is ethical decision-making important in social work?

Ethical decision-making requires informed judgment and critical thinking in situations where ethical solutions are not obvious. In some cases, the ethical obligations of a social worker may conflict with agency policies or even relevant laws or regulations.

How will you improve your decision-making?

  1. Make a plan
  2. Be assertive. Try taking command of the decision-making process
  3. Ask an expert
  4. Keep it in perspective
  5. Set deadlines
  6. Limit choices
  7. Weigh your options
  8. Exercise

How do you overcome ethical issues?

Honestly assess your needs and resources.

Establish a strong foundation.

Build a culture of integrity — from the top down.

Keep a “values focus” in moments big and small.

Re-evaluate and revise as needed.

What are three ways to make ethical decisions?

Making an ethical decision in three steps

  1. Step one is to follow the Golden Rule.
  2. Step two is to do the right thing.
  3. Step three: Wrongs rarely make things right.

Finally, use common sense and be kind to others.

What are the problems of the decision-making process?

  1. Bounded Rationality.
  2. Escalation of Commitment.
  3. Time Constraints.
  4. Uncertainty.
  5. Biases.
  6. Conflict.

How can we avoid bad decisions? Explain with an example?

  1. Look for reliable information.
  2. Avoid common blunders.
  3. Examine your past.
  4. Examine your own situation.
  5. Take good care of yourself.
  6. Make time to reflect.
  7. Analyze thoroughly.

What is decision-making in simple words?

The process of making choices by identifying a decision, gathering information, and evaluating alternative resolutions is known as decision-making. By organizing relevant information and defining alternatives, a step-by-step decision-making process can help you make more deliberate, thoughtful decisions.

What do you think will be possible impacts and outcomes of unethical conduct of a leader?

Employee anxieties, helplessness, frustration, low job satisfaction, loss of trust in leaders, work alienation, and other negative consequences for employees’ private lives are all harmful byproducts of unethical leadership.

How does unethical behavior affect customers?

One of the most serious consequences of unethical behavior in business is the inability of a company to form or maintain long-term relationships with customers. Furthermore, it becomes vulnerable to lengthy and costly legal proceedings.

What is an unethical decision?

Unethical behavior is defined as behavior that deviates from what is considered proper for a person, profession, or industry. Individuals, businesses, professionals, and politicians can all act unethically.

What is unethical and example?

Lacking in moral principles; unwilling to follow proper etiquette, and not by professional standards: She treated patients outside the scope of her training, and the appropriate medical organization penalized her unethical behavior.

How do you address unethical behavior?

To address unethical behavior at work, entrepreneurs can take the following steps:

  1. Make an ethics code. Create an ethics code to set the tone for behavior in your workplace.
  2. Create a protocol.
  3. Employees should be empowered.
  4. Continue to go over the code.

How would you react if you were asked to do something unethical?

  1. Make certain you understand the situation.
  2. Use your intuition.
  3. Maintain your moral compass.
  4. Don’t put off responding or avoid responding on purpose.
  5. Ask more questions.
  6. Try to persuade your boss.
  7. Never let yourself be bullied.

What are the risks of making unethical decisions?

Individuals and organizations are both affected by unethical behavior. You may lose your job and reputation, your organization’s credibility may suffer, general morale and productivity may suffer, or the behavior may result in significant fines and/or financial loss.

What do you do when you make a bad decision?

  1. Accept your emotions.
  2. Focus on the cold, hard facts.
  3. Don’t let the bad decision consume you.
  4. Forgive yourself.
  5. Accept your regret.
  6. If your regret is all-consuming, try practicing gratitude
  7. Create a decision-making process for the future.

Why do I keep making wrong decisions?

Most of our bad decisions are made because they are comfortable and automatic. Our emotions lead us astray. Our understanding of time is skewed toward the present. Our internal sense of status influences how we perceive others and ourselves.

Is there a difference between wrong decisions and bad decisions?

Even the best leaders aren’t perfect decision-makers, but a wrong decision isn’t the same as a bad decision. Your best guess is a bad decision when you have no way of knowing.

Why can it be difficult to deal with unethical behavior in the workplace?

Dealing with unethical behavior in the workplace necessitates the courage to act, which can be difficult if the unethical behavior is perpetrated by someone in charge of your job.

What is the importance of knowing right and wrong? Why?

Because ethics and morals are part of everyone’s opinions on whether something is right or wrong, your opinion has a greater influence on your actions and how you treat others than you realize. The problem with declaring that murder is wrong or war is murder is that things aren’t that simple. Why do you think it is important to be aware of the ethical issues and problems in the business?

A good decision can help an organization thrive and survive in the long run. In contrast, a bad decision can lead to bankruptcy. Lower-level managers have a smaller impact on the organization’s survival. However, they can still greatly impact their department and its workers.

How can we prevent unethical behavior?

  • Establish unambiguous guidelines. You should create a simple yet comprehensive code of conduct that outlines the company’s expectations for ethical behavior at work.
  • Increase your knowledge.
  • Provide resources.
  • Take the initiative.
  • Use data monitoring.
  • Encourage ethical behavior

What causes unethical behavior in the workplace?

The primary cause of unethical behavior is a failure to maintain the type of consistent leadership required to run an ethical organization. This exposes employees to opportunities to engage in unethical behavior.

Why do employees behave unethically?

Social and situational pressures can lead moral people to act unethically. The steps involved in making ethical decisions. According to their research, people lie when it pays, but only to the extent that they can do so without jeopardizing their perception of themselves as honest.

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