Kidder, "Nine Checkpoints for Ethical Decision-making"
Notable for its focus on "right versus right" paradigms, and for converting dilemmas to "trilemmas"
SOURCE FOR THE PROCEDURE
Kidder, Rushworth M. How Good People Make Tough Choices. New York: William Morrow, 1995.
THE PROCEDURE ITSELF
- Recognize that there is a moral issue.
- Whose issue is it?
- Is anyone responsible?
- Is anyone morally obligated to do anything?
- Gather the relevant facts.
- What events have unfolded?
- What finally happened?
- What else might have happened?
- Who said what to whom?
- Who may have suppressed information?
- Who was culpably ignorant?
- Who was innocently unaware?
- What is the future potential?
- Test for right-versus-wrong issues.
- Were any laws broken?
- If the answer is obviously "yes," treat the issue as a legal instead of a moral issue.
- If the answer is less obviously "yes," treat it as a moral issue.
- The stench test: Does this course of action have about it an indefinable odor of corruption that makes you (and perhaps others) recoil and look askance?
- The front-page test: Would you feel uncomfortable if what you are about to do showed up tomorrow morning on the front pages of the nation's newspapers?
- The Mom test: If I were my mother, would I do this?
- If the answer to these questions is yes-yes-no, discontinue further analysis; the issue is simply a choice between right and wrong.
- Test for right-versus-right paradigms. What sort of dilemma is this?
- Is it a case of truth versus loyalty?
- Is it a case of self versus community?
- Is it a case of short-term versus long-term?
- Is it a case of justice versus mercy?
- Apply the resolution principles.
- Ends-based thinking: Do what's best for the greatest number of people.
- Rule-based thinking: Follow your highest sense of principle.
- Care-based thinking: Do what you want others to do to you.
- Investigate the "trilemma" options.
- Is there a third way through this dilemma?
- Try to find a creative middle ground.
- Make the decision.
- Revisit and reflect on the decision.
The same checklist was applied to all procedures.
- This method is most useful when the DECISION-MAKER ...
- can tolerate ambiguity, complexity or conflict [step 5]
- has a working knowledge of several ethical theories [step 6]
- has high initial sensitivity to relevant ethical "features" [step 1]
- has plenty of time for investigation and analysis
- is skilled in causal or consequential reasoning [steps 3c and 6a]
- is skilled in conflict- or dilemma-resolution methods [steps 6 and 7]
- is skilled in the application of general ethical principles to specific cases [step 6]
- This method is most useful in a SITUATION ...
- that will change little over time
- where the decision-maker is also a stakeholder [step 4c]
- This method is most useful when STAKEHOLDERS ...
- share ethical principles [step 6]
- share laws and legal precedents [step 4]