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Ethical decision-making usually means making a choice between two rights and balancing various needs in order to make what is considered an ethical decision. This is what makes ethical decision making hard, because there isn't always one correct answer. In fact, most ethical decisions can be described as being making a choice between:

  • Truth or loyalty
  • Short-term or long-term
  • Individual or group
  • Justice or mercy

In this course, we will discuss models and tools for making ethical decisions, and will cover:

  • What are ethics?
  • Classical ethical approaches—making decisions for ourselves and our companies
  • Classic ethical dilemmas
  • Universal human values and how they play into decision-making
  • Examples of ethical decision-making models prevalent in the world

By understanding how these ethical decision-making models work, we can determine a model that is best for us to use in making these difficult “right versus right” decisions.

Note that this course is CPE earning for "personal development" but may not meet the Ethics credit standards of your state. Please check with your state accounting board prior to counting this course towards your CPA ethics requirement.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the core human values upon which any ethical decision should be made.
  • Define the types of ethical decisions and which are applicable to the decision you need to make 
  • Familiarize yourself with commonly accepted ethical decision making models and recognize the common elements necessary for developing an ethical decision making model.
Last updated/reviewed: September 19, 2018

37 Reviews (139 ratings)Reviews

5
Anonymous Author
Useful for developing ethics training. And I was glad to find clear and formal description of approaches I used unconsciously, with links to more detailed materials. But to apply these models, people should be able to assess impact on others in certain situations. Not all are adequate at that, in my experience. Maybe author should warn about this, or add a few words on what can go wrong with implementing ethical decision making models.
3
Member's Profile
The course did a fair job of providing a reasonable definition of ethics, but seemed a bit squishy. It tried to group all ethical dilemmas into a few categories, but these were neither exhaustive, nor necessarily well defined. Long-term vs. short term makes sense, as does individual vs. group, but truth vs. loyalty was weak. These aren't always held in tension, and sometimes it's not loyalty that competes with truth.
4
Anonymous Author
The ideologies of socialism and relativism are heavily wove into most of the models presented. I’m not sure whether most models are like this, or the instructor decided to focus on one’s that are like this, or….If this disturbs you, you may want to go another direction on your choice of an ethics course(s).
5
Member's Profile
Excellent session. Mr. Mefford uses his speaker gifts very well: voice, clarity, to the point, and relevant. Thank you. Suggestion: could this be 2CPE credit session in the future? That would allow little more time for bringing real life examples.
5
Member's Profile
Terrific course. Well-structured and delivered. The conceptual frameworks provided are practical and the instructor provides many relevant examples along the way. I highly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in the topic.
5
Member's Profile
Good course and presenter. I encountered some streaming problems with some of the videos - hope this was not the videos themselves but because we are at the end of the year and everyone is doing CPE.
5
Anonymous Author
I appreciated learning the history and various value-systems I had never heard of before this course. This course also shed light on the difference between a right/wrong and ethical dilemma.
5
Member's Profile
I appreciated the methodical approach to this subject, by breaking it down into historical and practical implications, and providing the options to develop our own ethical decision models.
5
Member's Profile
Provides excellent tools which I feel will make ethical dilemmas less overwhelming to deal with. I would make this required learning for all new managers - the sooner you learn, the better.
5
Member's Profile
I really liked the flow of information presented. Presenter was knowledgable and I walked our of this course learning more than I though I would in the beginning!
5
Anonymous Author
One of more interesting Ethics presentations in which I have participated. Just wish it was approved by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy.
4
Anonymous Author
Good course to judge the ethical barometer you're operating by and to compare what you think is ethical with what should be proper ethical behaviour
4
Member's Profile
The course was concise and touched on the key ethical points. The course instructor also demonstrated deep knowledge of the subject matter.
5
Member's Profile
Very easy to follow. Concise and broken up nicely. I liked that the student needed to move from module to module.
5
Member's Profile
This course is inspiring, providing references for those of us faced with promoting ethical decision making.
4
Member's Profile
A pretty good mix of different approaches to decision making. Quite a cocktail to think through. Thanx
5
Member's Profile
Good job of breaking down the different models. The instructor clearly understood the subject matter.
4
Anonymous Author
Great course. I never knew that there were so many ethical decision making models to choose from.
5
Anonymous Author
Always good to go back to the basics and relearn theory as well as how ethics and values came about.
4
Member's Profile
Great course on ethics! Very insightful and helpful when making ethical decisions.
Anonymous Author
The content was interesting, but the presentation was not very engaging.
5
Member's Profile
More information than expected. Useful Information
4
Anonymous Author
Clear definitions, good examples of ethical models
4
Anonymous Author
I learned a few new things in the area of ethics.
5
Anonymous Author
Good framework for approaching these decisions.
4
Member's Profile
Thank you very much for thr valuable course.
4
Member's Profile
Abstract combined with good scenarios
4
Member's Profile
broad balance on the topic is good.
5
Anonymous Author
Nice organization of the content.
4
Member's Profile
nice overview. clear and concise.
4
Member's Profile
General overview of ethics
4
Member's Profile
presents nice framework
4
Anonymous Author
Valuable content.
5
Member's Profile
Well done!
5
Member's Profile
Excellent
3
Member's Profile
ok
5
Anonymous Author
M

Prerequisites

Course Complexity: Advanced

Prerequisite: Exposure to ethical decision making

 

Advanced Preparation: None

 

Education Provider Information

Company:
Illumeo, Inc., 75 East Santa Clara St., Suite 1215, San Jose, CA 95113
Contact:
For more information regarding this course, including complaint and cancellation policies, please contact our offices at (408) 400- 3993 or send an e-mail to .

2 QuestionsCourse Questions and Answers

Member's Profile

Thank you for the excellent course, Mr. Mefford.

One question for you...

Why is a decision regarding taking a job with more compensation now versus limited career development for the longer term considered an 'ethical' dilemma? It seems it might be a personal decision with limited if any impact on others with no moral implications.

Thank you and kind regards,
Larry

Member's Profile

Lawrence - this is a great question. Many confuse the words morals with ethics, but there is a distinction. Just because a decision does not negatively affect another individual (which would often be deemed to be immoral) doesn't mean their isn't an ethical dilemma. Often the ethical dilemma is between two "good" decisions. I am making an example of short-term vs long-term dilemma. In this case often individuals will take a short-term increase in salary, which may not be in their best long-term career interest. In effect they are choosing a short-term monetary gain for potentially a better option in the future.

Course Syllabus
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
Eithics
  4:31Ethics Defined
  12:06Ethical Approaches
  8:09Ethical Dilemmas
  6:23Universal Human Values
Ethical Decision Making Models
  5:32Ethical Decision Making Models
  13:01The Rotary 4 Way Test and Right vs. Right
  9:48Towers Watson Model
CONCLUSION
  9:53Course Summary and Conclusion
SUPPORTING MATERIALS
  PDFSlides: Ethical Decision Making Models
  PDFEthical Decision Making Models Glossary/Index
REVIEW & TEST
  quizREVIEW QUESTIONS
 examFINAL EXAM