Ethics: Ethical Decisions


Alan Cotterell

Ethical Decisions


I have always had the impression that the term ‘morals’ had a religious connotation and was referring to guideline derived from the Bible.

Perhaps we would do better to concentrate on ‘ethics’.

Decisions which do not return maximum benefit to all stakeholders, and which do not reflect societal values are ‘unethical’.

While such decisions might also be ‘immoral’ (in terms of the teaching in the Bible), I suggest we should limit our direct reference to age old texts and move forward.

We should try to base our decisions on risk assessments (considering statistics and consequences), cost/ benefit analyses, and societal values.

Alan Cotterell
17th January 2000


Good point, however isn't the ability to make ethical decisions based on moral upbringing?

David Mullins

It would be my guess that the forum is for asking questions, seeking guidance, helping peers, etc.
Yet again you seem to have started a thread by preaching something, but asking nothing.

At least this one was shorter.



I think Alan is on to something! I have noticed the lack of reference to ISO9004:2000 amonst all the talk of the revised 9001:2000, yet TC176 (the commitee responsible for review of the ISO9000 series) apparently wanted ISO9004 to be one of a "consistant pair". If suppliers operating under a ISO9001 management system are to consider themselves "ethical" under the terms Alan put forward, then ISO9004 must be incorporated, which would then consider all stakeholders (termed interested parties).
Keep in mind ISO9001 is there for the sake of the "customer", ISO9004:2000 replaces the term customer with "interested parties"

Mark G.

[This message has been edited by Mark (edited 21 January 2000).]

Roger Eastin

Your definition of ethical has two very different components to it: one is based on "utility" (business decisions) and the other is based on anthropology. I'm not sure what your point is here (although Mark did), but your suggestion is certainly not a new one. Each century has folks that say the same thing as you have, but I think "the age-old texts" have more wisdom in them than you give them credit for. Now for the missing link: I hate to "dumb down" the discussion for my sake, but how does this relate to ISO9001 or 9004?
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