Ethical Decision in Leadership

In the contemporary corporate world governed by high levels of professionalism and technology it is only imperative that decision making should no longer be considered as an event where one has to make a random choice between two or more factors, but it should be a process guided by the same professionalism, critical analysis, and consideration of various parameters before a decision can be made. Ethical decision making is guided by moral reason in form of a person’s own reason, feeling and perception concerning a particular issue depending on factors such as knowledge and past experiences. Furthermore it should also involve in depth consideration of the issues involved which might sometimes include looking at aspects such as history and opinions from other people. Personal reason acts as a starting point in the process of ethical decision making but should however not be used alone or conclusively because in most instances it might be biased and subjective instead of objective. Critical analysis on other hand consists of professional rules that have been built upon over the years which act as guidelines in the process of decision making. One such guiding model is the PISCO (Problem, Input, Solution, Choice, Operation) problem solving model. Another model of analysis is the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). Basically these problem solving models provide a step wise guide that is easy to follow and can be applicable to almost any problem solving situation. Following the steps provided by these professional guidelines ensures that all parameters are considered sequentially with respect to priority and in order to arrive at the most prudent decision that will promise development in all aspects of an organization. This paper will look at a case study involving a situation requiring ethical problem solving and use PISCO problem solving model as a guide to arriving at the most appropriate solution.

Case Study Summary

The case study involves a corporate executive called Lael Matthews who has to make the decision of promoting one of three candidates all of which have their advantages and disadvantages. Furthermore her superiors have informed that the decision she is about to make is very critical as it may affect both the internal and external perception towards the company.

Problem Statement

The problem facing Lael in this situation is not just the need to find the most appropriate and experienced person suitable for the position but also the person who will create the most pleasing perception both internally and externally. Looking at problems superficially may sometimes be best shortcut because only one or few parameters are involved. However such an approach in the professional perspective is both short sighted and inappropriate. The problem begins to appear huge once one starts considering all the possible parameters and consulting in which instance some of the issues that will arise may be violently contradictory and may even be more confusing

Ethics form an important aspect of an organization because they define the things that an organization hold dear whether profits, customer care or employee satisfaction. Ethics are difficult to hide and the perception of the public towards a business depends on the ethics of that business. Most companies therefore strive to ensure that they nurture good ethics and that they deal with the different moral problems they encounter from time to time in order to maintain a good image. Eventually Lael will have to make the decision based on the general good it will have on the company against the consequences that may arise as a result of the decision made. These will form the basis of the problem. However it is imperative to look at the facts presented in the problem before building upon an action plan.

One of the three possible candidates is Liz. Liz is 34 years old, divorced and having one child. Lael identifies with her mostly because she is a black American woman who is building her career in an environment that is already not favourable for women. Her average performance is regarded as mediocre and she has problems managing her staff but she really has a lot of energy. Mostly what Lael feels for her is sympathy due to the medical problems that her child has and Lael feels that the extra pay accompanying the promotion might be very helpful for her. Lael’s relationship with Liz can be regarded as friendship because apart from hitting it off with each other Lael has helped Liz in a personal perspective during an emergency by babysitting Liz’s child. Apparently promoting Liz would create the perception of cronyism at play.

The other candidate is Roy who is white, 57 years old and has three children. Professionally Roy is ahead of the rest having graduated at the top half of his class and has been in the industry for thirty years and with the company for twenty years. Roy has been up for promotions but failed to succeed because of this refusal to relocate. Although his level f energy is average he has managed t produce one of the company’s top sales performers.

The third candidate is Quang Yeh who is single, Asian and is 27 years old. Academically she is brilliant having graduated in the top three percent of her class but has only been with the company for three years. However she is also loose cannon apparently because of her arrogance and carefree attitude. Quang also sued her previous employer for discrimination and won the case.

These are the facts on the table for consideration in making the most appropriate decision. Furthermore Lael has also had the chance to listen to the views of other people which might to a certain degree guide her also in making the most appropriate decision. Professionally the decision made by Lael will have to transcend her personal views or feelings and the views of other people and arrive at a solution that will ensure the overall development in the company. She is influenced from different quarters by many factors such as friendship and sympathy but her consideration should be based on the overall good of the company.

Liz is a very good friend to Lael and she has even helped her on several occasions furthermore Liz is also a black American woman. The strengths in granted Liz the promotion will be that it will create the impression that the company is gender sensitive and is inclined upon the empowerment of women. The weaknesses in appointing Liz is that they are very good friends and that it may be perceived as favouritism. Although Liz has a lot of energy she has so far been unable to manage the staff under her responsibility and her performance is not very wanting. Furthermore, the lot of the benefits will be limited to Liz only. This is mostly because she will be able to earn enough money to cater for the bills of her child apart from the fact that the general perception in terms of gender sensitivity towards the company will be promoted. However in terms of business success and development of the company it is going to be a threat considering that Liz cannot manage her own staff efficiently and therefore it would not be wise to entrust her with greater responsibilities.

Roy on the other hand would be the most appropriate candidate for the promotion. The only thing that has so far kept the promotion from Roy is the fact that he refused to relocate. This can be understandable because perhaps he made the sacrifice for his family and this only show how caring and considerate he is. Furthermore Roy has been in the industry for the longest time and has also worked with the company longest. Therefore it can be considered that he is very much in touch with the business, staff, finance, and consumer dynamics in the company. Academically Roy is also brilliant and granting him the promotion will draw very little criticism due to the fact that it will be easy to convince people that he deserved it being the oldest and approaching retirement age. The other two can wait a few more years. Roy’s performance record is also brilliant and therefore he will be able to add more quality to the company because his previous record speaks for itself. The weaknesses that could be associated with granting Roy the promotion is due to the fact that he has very little energy as compared to the rest of the candidates and that it may not go very well with people who are lobbying for the appointment of Liz and Quang.

Quang is the least appropriate of the three to be granted the promotion. However she also has her strengths. By appointing Quang the company will create the perception that it is gender sensitive and culturally diverse. Furthermore bringing in a new mind to a top position is a good sign for a company that is dynamic. Quang is also very resilient and she is known to do all that it takes to achieve her dreams. The only problem is that the immense energy Quang has seems to be difficult to control. Her major weakness is that she is also not very good with people and this has actually cost the company some old accounts. Just as explained earlier her major threat is that she is a loose cannon whose energy if not directed towards positive development can be destructive. The only support provided for her is that one of the employee’s sons is due to marry her and was thus requesting a personal favour. However companies are not run by favours but by professionalism and ethics. No director can be willing to work with a person who cannot be controlled and who has no respect for protocol, furthermore her loyalty to the company is still questionable.


The most appropriate person for the promotion is therefore Roy. Roy has experience and is also brilliant and his performance is very good. Although his energy is comparatively low Lael can tap on his immense experience to nurture a young mind who can take over him as soon as he retires. For the general good of the company Roy should be promoted.