How an Ethical Framework Can Help You

4 Mins

An ethical framework asks you to answer questions in order to see situations from different perspectives, recognize your own biases, and prevent you from making rationalizations for your own or other people's behavior.

A good ethical framework keeps you honest.

Here are six questions that can form the heart of your ethical framework:

1. Is this legal?

2. Does the company's code of conduct support this?

3. Does it serve the greater good?

4. Does it follow the "golden rule" of treating others as I would want to be treated?

5. Am I free from bias?

6. Would I be okay to be publicly associated with this?

If the answers are yes to all those questions, you're probably in good ethical territory.

If the answers are a mix of yes and no, that's an indication that it may be unethical.

The Project Management Institute, a think tank and resource for project managers, has developed an ethical framework of their own. It's a great example of what an ethical framework looks like and how it's used. Have a look.

Let's practice!

Ashley is wondering if it's ethical to interview a candidate from her alma mater.

Quiz 1 of 1

How can an ethical framework help her?

The framework can tell her if it's legal.
The framework can tell her who to hire.
The framework can help her recognize her own bias.
The framework can help her write interview questions.

The correct answer is C.

Recognizing that she might be biased toward this candidate because she thinks highly of her alma mater, Ashley can more fairly examine his other qualifications.


The next time you face an ethical dilemma at work, use the six ethical framework questions to help you understand and respond to the situation.

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