Frontline Initiative | 2012, Volume 10, Number 1 | The RIGHT Decision Method: An approach for solving ethical dilemmas (2023)

What is an ethical dilemma?

An ethical dilemma requires a person to define right from wrong. But, as Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), we know that this is not so simple. We face difficult decisions in our daily practice. There are often many different rules, principles, and opinions at play. We are called to respond in allegiance to the individuals we support. The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) Code of Ethics provides a roadmap to assist in resolving ethical dilemmas.

How do I resolve ethical dilemmas?

Ethical dilemmas can be resolved through effective decision-making. Since we are so often called upon to make independent judgments, it is important to incorporate the NADSP Code of Ethics within our daily practice. Many ethical dilemmas can be resolved easily with consultation and reflection. However, some issues cannot. Therefore, to help make it easier to solve difficult ethical dilemmas, consider a framework from which to work. The College of Direct Support has provided an approach to ethical decision-making with the NADSP Code of Ethics. This is called the RIGHT Decision Method.

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RIGHT Decision Method

  • Recognize the ethical dilemma.
  • Identify points of view.
  • Gather resources and assistance.
  • Have a plan.
  • Take action based on ethical standards.

What is the RIGHT Decision Method?

Sometimes there really is a “right” way to make decisions under difficult conditions. The RIGHT Decision Method gives us tools to make sound ethical decisions and resolve ethical dilemmas. RIGHT is an acronym that stands for each step of the decision-making process:

R: Recognize the ethical dilemma.

The first step is recognizing the conflicting obligations and clearly stating the dilemma. It is important to recognize and use the NADSP Code of Ethics as you begin with this step. You may consider —

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  • In what ways is the Code of Ethics applicable to this issue?

I: Identify points of view.

The second step is identifying points of view in the situation. This means considering the viewpoint of the person receiving services, your colleagues, other parties involved, and the NADSP Code of Ethics. Restating the problem clearly to someone else can also help you check out whether you have interpreted the situation accurately. It is important to understand how the person receiving supports feels. Consider —

  • What does the person receiving support expect?

  • Then think about others who are involved in the situation and how they feel.

  • What do these individuals want or need?

G: Gather resources and assistance.

The third step is gathering resources and assistance that might help you figure out what to do. Now that you have an accurate understanding for the problem and various perspectives, this step encourages you to consider other people who may be able to assist you. You may also need to find important information. For example —

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  • Are there agency policies that could be considered? What do these documents say? Are there any laws or regulations in the state that may influence your decision-making?

  • Is this a situation where legal advice is needed? Does the person have a legal representative who must be involved?

  • Are there community resources that might help resolve the problem?

H: Have a plan.

The fourth step means that you are ready to make your decision. Formulating a plan will help you decide the best way to put your ideas into action. Once you have considered the following issues, write a plan down and identify step-by-step actions that you plan to take —

  • Whom must you speak to first? What will you say? What preparations will you make?

  • What steps can you take to ensure the best possible outcome for your decision?

  • How might people react?

T: Take action based on ethical standards.

The fifth and final step is implementing the plan you developed in the manner you decided. Then, it is important to monitor its success using the success indicators you identified in the planning process to help you reflect on your decision —

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  • What worked well and why?

  • What did not work well and why?

  • What would you do differently after you have evaluated your outcomes?

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What is the number 1 ethical principle of the decision-making hierarchy? ›

The ethical principle of “Protection of life” was the most important principle guiding the social workers' decision making with 45% of respondents rating this principle as the most important.

What are the 4 steps for solving ethical dilemmas? ›

A rudimentary framework for how managers engage in the decision making process contains four steps.
  1. 1) Identify the problem.
  2. 2) Generate alternatives.
  3. 3) Decide on a course of action.
  4. 4) Implement.

Which is the best step to take to resolve an ethical dilemma? ›

Step 1: Gather relevant information. Step 2: Identify the type of ethical problem. or approaches. Step 4: Explore the practical alternatives.

What are the 7 principles of ethical decision making? ›

In brief these are: 1) modify human practices when possible; 2) justify the need for control; 3) have clear and achievable outcome-based objectives; 4) cause the least harm to animals; 5) consider community values and scientific information; 6) include long-term systematic management; and 7) base control on the ...

What are the 3 types of ethical dilemma? ›

In LDRS 111 you were introduced to four different ethical dilemma paradigms: truth vs loyalty, short-term vs long-term, individual vs community, and justice vs mercy.

What is an ethical dilemma 1 point? ›

An ethical dilemma (ethical paradox or moral dilemma) is a problem in the decision-making process between two possible options, neither of which is absolutely acceptable from an ethical perspective.

What is provision 1 of the Code of Ethics? ›

Provision 1

Patient dignity is the foundation of nursing ethics. Dignity is inherent, not “earned.”

What are the 4 main ethical principles in leadership? ›

The principles of ethical leadership include honesty, justice, respect, community and integrity.

What are the 6 steps in the ethical decision making process? ›

A Framework for Ethical Decision Making
  • Identify the Ethical Issues.
  • Get the Facts.
  • Evaluate Alternative Actions.
  • Choose an Option for Action and Test It.
  • Implement Your Decision and Reflect on the Outcome.
5 Nov 2021

What are the 9 steps in the ethical decision making process? ›

Nine Basic Steps to Personal Ethical Decision Making
  • Practice ethical behavior actively. ...
  • Beware of "new" ethics programs. ...
  • Define the ethical problem when it arises. ...
  • Formulate alternatives. ...
  • Evaluate the alternatives. ...
  • Seek additional assistance, as appropriate. ...
  • Choose the best ethical alternative.

What are the 8 steps in ethical decision making? ›

The eight steps are as follows: 1) identify the problem or dilemma, 2) identify the potential issues involved, 3) review the relevant ethical codes, 4) know the applicable laws and regulations, 5) obtain consultation, 6) consider possible and probable course of action, 7) enumerate the consequences of various decisions ...

What are the approaches to resolving ethical dilemmas? ›

The four approaches are: The principle approach, in which decisions are made according to a principle such as the Ten Commandments or the Golden Rule The consequence approach, in which decisions are made according to their likely outcomes The virtue/character approach, in which decisions are made according to the ...

What are the six steps to resolving ethical dilemmas? ›

Understanding Ethics
  1. Know the Facts. Before tackling an ethical issue, clearly define the nature of the challenge. ...
  2. Identify the Required Information. You don't know what you don't know. ...
  3. List the Concerns. ...
  4. Develop Possible Resolutions. ...
  5. Evaluate the Resolutions. ...
  6. Recommend an Action.
2 Mar 2020

What is the 3 step approach to solve an ethical problem? ›

Consider this three-step process for solving an ethical dilemma: (1) analyze the consequences; (2) analyze the actions; (3) make a decision.

What are the 12 ethical principles of ethics? ›

Generally, there are about 12 ethical principles: honesty, fairness, leadership, integrity, compassion, respect, responsibility, loyalty, law-abiding, transparency, and environmental concerns.

What are the 5 ethical principles? ›

Moral Principles

The five principles, autonomy, justice, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and fidelity are each absolute truths in and of themselves. By exploring the dilemma in regards to these principles one may come to a better understanding of the conflicting issues.

What are the 6 basic ethical principles? ›

The principles are beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, justice; truth-telling and promise-keeping.

What are the 3 principles of ethical decision making? ›

The answer is discussing three critical principles for ethical decision-making: transparency, responsibility and empathy.

What are the four types of ethical issues? ›

This framework approaches ethical issues in the context of four moral principles: respect for autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice (see table 1). This framework has been influential because the values it espouses seem to align with our moral norms.

What are the 3 ethical decision criteria? ›

The three criteria of ethical decisions include rights criteria, utilitarian criteria, and justice criteria, that are described as under: Rights criteria: This criterion deals with privileges and basic rights.

What are ethical decisions examples? ›

Ethical behavior suggests someone is honest and forthright in communications whether written or oral. A salesperson explaining potential problems with a product is being honest. A customer service representative taking responsibility for failing to follow through with a service action is making an ethical decision.

What is step one for handling an ethical dilemma? ›

1. DETERMINE whether there is an ethical issue or/and dilemma. Is there a conflict of values, or rights, or professional responsibilities? (For example, there may be an issue of self-determination of an adolescent versus the well-being of the family.) 2. IDENTIFY the key values and principles involved.

Why is ethical dilemma important? ›

The practice not only fosters better ethical decision-making, but it may also have a positive effect on academic performance, says Flanagan. Exercises that require assessments of ethical dilemmas can improve reasoning and critical thinking skills—valuable assets in many academic contexts.

What are the 10 codes of ethics? ›

Whether you go long or short, here are 10 sections you might include in your code of ethics statement:
  • Our Mission.
  • Purpose Statement.
  • Privacy and Security.
  • Fairness & Consistency.
  • Health & Safety.
  • Harassment, Discrimination & Bullying.
  • Key Values (or pillars of ethics)
  • Professionalism & Office Conduct.
17 Sept 2021

What is Article 1 of the Code of Conduct? ›

Article I - I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense. Article II - I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

What is another word for ethics 1 point? ›

Some common synonyms of ethical are moral, noble, righteous, and virtuous. While all these words mean "conforming to a standard of what is right and good," ethical may suggest the involvement of more difficult or subtle questions of rightness, fairness, or equity.

Why are the 4 ethical principles important? ›

These principles are autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. Each of these principles has a unique objective, but the four come together to empower you as a health care professional and ensure that patients are receiving high quality and ethical health care.

What are the 10 steps in ethical decision making? ›

10 Steps for Ethical Decision Making
  1. Is this an ethical dilemma? ...
  2. Do you have all the information you need? ...
  3. Are there others you should involve in this decision? ...
  4. What are your choices? ...
  5. What's the best decision? ...
  6. How culturally sensitive is your preferred decision or the person it will affect?
17 Nov 2011

What are the 5 process of decision-making? ›

The decision-making process includes the following steps: define, identify, assess, consider, implement, and evaluate.

What are the 4 steps to ethical behavior? ›

He concluded that ethical action is the result of four psychological processes: (1) moral sensitivity (recognition), (2) moral judgment (reasoning), (3) moral focus (motivation), and (4) moral character (action). The first step in moral behavior requires that the individual interpret the situation as moral.

What is the 10 10 10 decision-making process? ›

To help us deal with these particularly tough decisions, Suzy Welch created a framework called the 10/10/10 rule. This rule is, in essence, asking yourself “What will be the consequence(s) of my action/decision in 10 minutes, 10 months, 10 years”.

What are 8 strategies for resolving conflict? ›

  • Understand the situation. Few situations are exactly as they seem or as presented to you by others. ...
  • Acknowledge the problem. ...
  • Be patient and take your time. ...
  • Avoid using coercion and intimidation. ...
  • Focus on the problem, not the individual. ...
  • Establish guidelines. ...
  • Keep the communication open. ...
  • Act decisively.
1 Oct 2021

What are the 7 steps of the conflict resolution model? ›

7 Steps to Conflict Resolution (Without the Dread)
  • Set a Discussion Time. ...
  • Invite a Third Party. ...
  • Figure Out the Main Issue. ...
  • Establish Common Goals. ...
  • Discuss how to Meet Goals. ...
  • Agree on a Way Forward. ...
  • Determine Resolution Roles.
19 Dec 2017

What are the 7 listed strategies for resolving conflict? ›

7 Strategies for Resolving Conflict in the Workplace
  • Welcome healthy disagreement.
  • Preempt unnecessary conflict.
  • Familiarize yourself with different approaches.
  • Respect boundaries.
  • Resolve emotions before disputes.
  • Address tension when it arises.
  • Act quickly.
18 Apr 2017

What is the 3 step approach? ›

A few months ago, I produced a video describing this the three stages of the problem-solving cycle: Understand, Strategize, and Implement. That is, we must first understand the problem, then we think of strategies that might help solve the problem, and finally we implement those strategies and see where they lead us.

What is the 4 topics method of resolving an ethical problem or making an ethical decision? ›

The quadrants of Jonsen's four topics approach (i.e., medical indications, patient preference, quality of life, and contextual issues) were used as the main themes together with “reason for referral” and “recommendations proposed by the CEC,” and sub-themes that emerged were built upon these main themes.

What are the 5 ethical actions? ›

Philosophers have developed five different approaches to values to deal with moral issues.
  • The Utilitarian Approach. ...
  • The Rights Approach. ...
  • The Fairness or Justice Approach. ...
  • The Common-Good Approach. ...
  • The Virtue Approach. ...
  • Ethical Problem Solving.

What are the steps of processing an ethical dilemma? ›

The next time you are faced with an ethical dilemma, use this six-step process to come to the right solution.
  • Define. ...
  • Identify internal and external factors. ...
  • Identify key values. ...
  • Identify the audiences that will be affected by your decision. ...
  • Select the ethical principles to guide you. ...
  • Make the decision and justify.
15 Sept 2020

What are the 5 simple principles to be an ethical speaker? ›

Being an ethical speaker is easy when you follow the five principles: trustworthiness, integrity, respect for others, dignity in conduct, and truthfulness in the message. It's also important to ensure you cite sources if you take information from a website, book, film, or any other form of media.

What are the 10 types of ethics? ›

Types of ethics
  • Supernaturalism.
  • Subjectivism.
  • Consequentialism.
  • Intuitionism.
  • Emotivism.
  • Duty-based ethics.
  • Virtue ethics.
  • Situation ethics.

What are the 10 good work ethics? ›

The ten work ethic traits: appearance, attendance, attitude, character, communication, cooperation, organizational skills, productivity, respect and teamwork are defined as essential for student success and are listed below.

What are the 4 rules of ethical decision making? ›

Autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice, often referred to as The Four Principles have canonical status within the field of medical ethics.

What are the 4 principles of ethical decision making? ›

Beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice constitute the 4 principles of ethics. The first 2 can be traced back to the time of Hippocrates “to help and do no harm,” while the latter 2 evolved later.

What is the first step in most ethical dilemmas? ›

identify an ethical situation and the ethical issues involved in it. This is the first step.

What are the 9 ethical principles? ›

The principles that we will cover are utilitarianism, universalism, rights/legal, justice, virtue, common good, and ethical relativism approaches. As you read these, ask yourself which principles characterize and underlie your own values, beliefs, behaviors, and actions.

What are the 7 ethical principles and definitions? ›

WHAT ARE THE 7 MAIN ETHICAL PRINCIPLES IN NURSING AND WHY THEY ARE IMPORTANT? There are seven primary ethical principles of nursing: accountability, justice, nonmaleficence, autonomy, beneficence, fidelity, and veracity.

What are the 3 core ethical principles? ›

Three basic principles, among those generally accepted in our cultural tradition, are particularly relevant to the ethics of research involving human subjects: the principles of respect of persons, beneficence and justice.


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