Monday, October 18, 2010

Decisions and Making Them

People make decisions many times each day. Some decisions are less agonizing than others. An example of a less agonizing decision may happen in a supermarket: I choose this product because it is less expensive than that one. A less agonizing decision may take little time or more time: This product is more expensive than others, and it's also more healthy for me to eat. Does one decide by price or by benefit to health?

Other decisions are more agonizing, costing deciders emotional investment, learning new information about self and others as well as taking a psychic toll. Decisions in more complex situations demand much from people. Unlike a decision in a supermarket, a broader range of perspectives presents itself: does one choose for the greatest good; for the common good; to promote justice; to ensure the dignity of people involved?

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University offers this practical framework for making ethical decisions. It won't remove agony from decision-making, but it offers clarity, which agony frequently clouds.

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