Ethical Principles

The Golden Rule– Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Putting yourself in the position others can help you think about fairness in decision making.

Immanuel Kant’s Imperative- If an action is not right for everyone to take, it is not right for everyone. Ask yourself “if everyone did this, could the organization or society survive?”

Descartes’ Rule of Change– If an action cannot be taken repeatedly, it is not right to take at all. This is usually called the slippery-slope rule.

Utilitarian Principle- Take the action that achieves the higher or greater value.

Risk Aversion Principle- Take the action that produces the least harm or the least potential cost.

Ethical “no free lunch” Rule- Assume that all tangible and intangible objects are owned by someone else unless specified otherwise. You should assume the creator wants some form of compensation for his/her work.

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