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When there's no code of conduct

If you don’t have a code of conduct in place, or know what it is a checklist of questions is useful when faced with an ethical dilemma as detailed below:

21 Question Framework (Bibb 2010)

Understanding the Situation

  1. Do I understand the situation?
  2. Have I got all of the facts and information I need?
  3. Are there any legal issues involved?
  4. What is it about the situation that I believe may make it an ethically problematic one?
  5. Have I looked at the situation from the perspective of all those involved?
  6. What is the truth of the situation?
  7. What is my intention?

Making the decision

  1. Have I spoken to all of the people involved?
  2. What are the options?
  3. Are there other possibilities that I may not have thought of?
  4. Have I got the courage to do what is right?
  5. How sure am I that this is the right decision?
  6. What are the upsides of this decision for all concerned?
  7. What are the downsides of this decision for all concerned?

Checking the decision

  1. What are the consequences of my decision for all concerned including me, others, the company, shareholders and family and friends?
  2. Is my decision the right thing to do?

Acid test questions

  1. Would I be happy for my decision to be published in the media?
  2. Would I be happy for my friends and family to know about my decision?
  3. Is there any part of me that thinks this decision is wrong or that I am ashamed of it?
  4. If I implement this decision is my conscience clear?
  5. What is the best decision for the highest possible good for all concerned?

All questions are a useful printable checklist to follow when working through an ethical dilemma but the most powerful ones are the acid test questions where your own, personal moral compass comes into play.

Comment on:

Should more organisations consider using the acid test questions?

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This article is from the free online course:

Construction Ethics and Compliance

Chartered Institute of Building Academy