A Framework for Ethical Decision Making Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Decision making framework

Now, let’s apply the framework to solve a hypothetical problem. Imagine that you live in San Francisco and have a friend in LA whom you want to visit. There are many options you can choose as a means of transportation.

  • The argument here is over which facts argue for the morality of a particular action, not simply over the morality of particular principles.
  • On the other hand, it is not always possible to predict the consequences of an action, so some actions that are expected to produce good consequences might actually end up harming people.
  • Besides the three listed above, you can also include others like risks or legal concerns.
  • Graphs are the single most interesting decision tool for people dealing with highly volatile and complex data.
  • We unconsciously make choices based on optics, politics, and defendability.

Despite its pros, the option “Airplane” can’t be considered as the Traveler is afraid to fly. The option “Car” has an issue – long and tiring ride, but it also has a list of advantages and meets most of the Traveler’s critical needs. When the descriptors were ready, we came up with three potential options (Solution variations) that can satisfy the Traveler’s needs. At that stage, we also defined the importance of each criterion.

Complicated Contexts

However, none of the known solutions were versatile enough. BRIDGeS has combined all the best from those solutions to help you handle complexity, set priorities, and solve your business or personal problem in just one session. As you can see at the top, we defined larger groups of teams (in our case the teams are usually involved in one project). Then we have those groups broken down into individual teams. On the left you can input different decision-related areas like Design Lead or Development Lead. Then you should input the names of the team members responsible for the decisions in this category.

Decision making framework

So learning to make them well is a very healthy investment. Now, you might ask why I decided to write a long guide like this about something as simple as making decisions. Real knowledge of the art of decision making, which remains true across time and circumstances, eras and epochs, can help increase the odds that we get what we want and reduce costly mistakes. Luckily, we can take steps to reduce the odds of stupidity and increase the odds of good decisions in each of these categories.

Chaotic Contexts

In one sense there is nothing wrong with this — specialized knowledge is required to solve problems and advance our global potential. But a byproduct of this niche focus is that it narrows the ways we think we can apply our knowledge without being called a fraud. Mental models shape how you think, how you approach problems, and how you identify the information that matters and ignore what doesn’t. The mental models in your head are your cognitive skillset. There is no class called “decision making.” Making better decisions isn’t one skill but rather a series of tools and frameworks.

And those who need to be consulted are the ones that need to be included in the decision-making process and get a say on the final choice. This includes everyone that needs to know about the decision when it’s made. The ISSUES-Concept from McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada is an example of ethical decision making framework.

Where can I learn more about open decision-making?

In my world, a poor decision could cost lives, impact my country, or even start a war. My computer science degree lost its value after a few promotions. I came from a world of 1s and 0s, not people, families, and interpersonal dynamics. The second problem is that the different lenses may lead to different answers to the question “What is ethical?

Decision making framework

The amount of risk an individual is willing to bring depends on the following factors. These are the questions that need to be answered before handing over the responsibility of a decision to an individual or a group of individuals. Before making a decision, you should decide who will be responsible for making the decision. These are all the possible choices that you have, and you can start eliminating the wrong choices from here. Imagining that the decision you are taking is a failure and asking yourself why it was a failure is an excellent way to work backward. Choose a few team members with expertise in the decision to be made to provide supporting information to help make the decision.

Group decision-making is a must when dealing with sensitive topics or subjects that a lot of people have an interest in. A substantial part of what stakeholder management means is the need to share accountability. Frameworks help a great deal in organizing people and giving clarity on objectives. Having to make a decision alone is work enough, you don’t need to add a mathematical equation to it to make things worse. The Golden Circle was introduced by leadership specialist Simon Sinek back in 2009 in his book Start with why.

More reads on Management

Another nice thing about this specific framework, is that you can add sections to it. Besides the three listed above, you can also include others like risks or legal concerns. Whatever is the most important to your business – work it into the framework. Making decisions under pressure and with limited information can cause a bad decision to look like the right thing to do.

The idea is to use post-its to plot down what you know for sure about a problem, what you think you know, and what you don’t know at all in three respective columns. Lone decision-making is not necessarily a synonym for safe decision-making. The key difference here is that third-party input is either unnecessary or unwanted.

The main Goal of the Subject is to spend a weekend in LA with a friend (shown in blue). As for the Benefits (light green), we listed affordability, schedule flexibility, comfort, flexible navigation in LA, and minimal travel time. We also mentioned that it’s hard to navigate in LA without a car as a Risk (yellow) and that driving that far is tiring – Domain knowledge (purple). BRIDGeS is a versatile framework developed by the Railsware team. The framework is the result of our constant search for a universal tool to collect, analyze, and structure complex contexts of any subject.

Notice that the tree is not making decisions on your behalf like RICE/ICE does, and that’s why this framework is excellent for group decision-making. When everybody is on the same page after seeing all possible outcomes of a decision, it’s easier to come to a consensus. In a chaotic context, searching for right answers is pointless.

What one should keep in mind is that the decision you take now is the first decision. Answer any outstanding questions and assign action items and due dates to owners before ending the meeting. This is the one person who has the final say in approving the decision. Drivers, like Program Managers or other team members, ensure a decision is made but don’t necessarily influence the decision. Often there will not be an answer that pleases everyone and so it is our responsibility to ensure that our processes for decision-making are fair and legitimate. Values permeate everything we do and sometimes these values come into conflict.

Xanax for decision-making resembles a simple chart with the pros and cons of a certain solution but has a slight modification that changes the perspective. Using this decision-making framework, you need to consider each option and list their Benefits, Costs, and Mitigations. The additional dimension (Mitigation) simplifies decision-making by showing how to make each decision reversible, if it’s possible, of course, or how to neutralize the costs in advance. British product designer, Stuart Pugh, introduced a mathematical approach to ranking options with multiple characteristics (dimensions) and called it the Decision Matrix method. Please note, this decision-making framework doesn’t help you single out one option but rather helps deep dive into the context of a problem so that you can make a carefully weighed decision. In this context, the right answers and decisions cease to exist.

Inside the Black Box Crucial to Megaproject Success – INSEAD Knowledge

Inside the Black Box Crucial to Megaproject Success.

Posted: Mon, 21 Aug 2023 03:20:49 GMT [source]

The most efficient teams make a ton of decisions quickly, but that’s easier said than done. Teams that make effective decisions and solve complex problems fast don’t have a superpower; they use decision making frameworks and tools to organize and guide their decision making process. Having a method for ethical decision making is essential. When practiced regularly, the method becomes so familiar that we work through it automatically without consulting the specific steps. This is one reason why we can sometimes say that we have a “moral intuition” about a certain situation, even when we have not consciously thought through the issue. Only by careful exploration of the problem, aided by the insights and different perspectives of others, can we make good ethical choices in such situations.

It can really dishearten your employees and might lower their quality of work. Making a decision using A/B testing is an objective way to choose the Decision making framework best option. There’s plenty of tools that will make your A/B testing quick and easy – check out our guide on how to do A/B testing successfully.

The Virtue Framework In the Virtue framework, we try to identify the character traits (either positive or negative) that might motivate us in a given situation. We are concerned with what kind of person we should be and what our actions indicate about our character. We define ethical behavior as whatever a virtuous person would do in the situation, and we seek to develop similar virtues. All the decision-making frameworks we’ve considered in this post work great. However, it’s impossible to compare them and select the best one as they all serve different purposes and suit different situations. When a table is created and all options are discussed, a team makes a decision and freezes it for 24 hours.