Ethical practice - Lesson 2: your reflections

Welcome to the online community learning space for the lesson: Making responsible decisions. Use this forum to discuss the community reflective activity in the lesson. Read the contributions of others, ‘liking’ those you find helpful and add your unique reflections to the conversation by replying to this post. Click here to return to the lesson page at any time. 

Community reflective activity:
Which of the eight perspectives from the CIPD report (f
airness, merit, markets, democracy, well-being, rights and duties, character, handing down) are best suited to the values of your organisation and to your own professional values? Why is that?


  • I found the 8 philosophical perspectives really useful and also liked the reference to the fact that they can be contradictory as this seems to reflect the reality of responsible decision making. For me and my organisation, integrity is a core value, so 'fairness' and 'good character' seemed to stand out for me. However the others do have a part to play, sometimes it may not be possible to consult those affected by the decision in all cases (democracy) but utilising the other perspectives for the best is useful.
  • I really become fond of the Institute of Business Ethics recommendation on three tests that really help me to determine making the right decision. Specially in answering the 03 questions ask in the activity.
    These 03 test are:
    • Fairness test, is this decision fair to all those involved?
    • Effects test, how would this decision affect other people?
    • Press test, would I be comfortable to see this decision reported in the press?
    I will for sure share the same with my organisation L&D team.
  • The Ethical Practice itself is a very useful reminder regarding how everyone should be making decisions, not just HR.  The 3 tests are really common sense (hopefully).  The 8 perspectives themselves do add a balance when making a decision.  In particular I do use "Fairness" and on "Merit" and try to stay away from "positive action" forced decisions as described in the course material.  A very useful reminder of best practice.

  • I agree with Emma that the 8 ethical lenses are really useful, giving a clear framework that we can use to consider the implications of potential courses of action, choices and decisions. The lenses that particularly draw me and link strongly with my own values are:
    - Fairness.
    - Rights and duties.
    - Character.
    - Well-being.

    As people professionals, we (hopefully!) all believe that we act ethically and that we are essentially doing what is right for our organisations, our colleagues, our customers and for ourselves. Whether a particular choice we make is in fact ethical can, of course, be quite subjective and, in that vein, I found the concept of 'bounded ethicality' really interesting, I'd never heard of it before so thank you CIPD for today's first learning point! :)

    As I'd never heard of it, I wanted to look into the concept of 'bounded ethicality' a little more and found the following resources useful (for anyone else who wants to learn a little more too!):



  • In reply to Emma:

    Emma I totally agree; I also found the 8 perspectives really useful and feel that integrity is one of our main core values. However the others all do play a significant part!
  • I found the philosophical perspectives very thought provoking For my organisation I would definitely have to say that Well-being and merit are the core values of the organisation as these most closely fit the mission statement. We repeat the mission statement in each meeting to remind ourselves of its importance, and it focuses on being the best in our chosen market and providing the best for our service users and staff.
  • In reply to Luke Brandon:

    It's really nice to hear that your mission and values are being reinforced during meetings, Luke, so often that's not the case! Does your organisation also link the mission in with daily activities? You said that being the "best" and providing "the best service" is part of the mission, what does that look like in terms of day-to-day activities and roles? Are people at all levels aware of what "best" actually means in practical terms? How might that impact ethical decision making (if at all)?
  • In reply to Kevin Pollard:

    In making decisions it takes time and engagement with all stakeholders. So Fairness and Democracy may be the highlights of gaining ethical perspectives although perhaps contradictory in decision-making applications, of course.
  • In my view the perspectives that best suit the values of my organisation and my own are fairness, merit, well-being and character. I see these values in action every day, closely followed by democracy and rights and duties.
  • In case you haven't yet seen these I thought it would be useful to share the link to a three-part webinar series CIPD are delivering on ethical practice at work in March and April 2020. Click here to find out more www.cipd.co.uk/.../ethics-at-work-webinars
  • The 3 tests to help make the right decision are really good common sense thought processes, particularly "how would you feel if it was reported in the press", however, out of the 8 perspectives the following stood out for me; fairness, well-being, rights and duties and character.
  • In reply to Michelle Battista:

    Thanks Michelle. Will these webinars be recorded?
  • In reply to Michelle Battista:

    Lesson 2 has been concise.

    Making responsible decisions means that I do the right thing in my HR role. Doing the right thing matters to me because I just can't go against my conscience. My motto is 'Do it once, do it right'. For me right means that I consider all the perspectives, do not make hasty decisions and think about the implications.

    On a practical level the 8 ethical perspectives have been driving my everyday decision-making. While completing this lesson I have realised this.

    In the coming weeks I will reflect on the decisions I make, will evaluate which perspectives I consider. I will also consciously analyse my decisions using the three tests - fairness, effects, press.

  • In reply to Anita Thomas Dileepne Antal:

    Hey Anita, they were recorded and will eventually be available on the website.  In the meantime we do also have lots of resources and insights on ethics here www.cipd.co.uk/.../ethics I hope this helps?

  • Looking back to my time working in a co-owned business, democracy would be a fairly obvious standout perspective although looking at each of the eight perspectives, even with their contradictions, it becomes apparent that all eight are strongly suited. Perhaps the one I identified with that business the least initially was around markets initially, but when reflecting one the first principle of the business's purpose (briefly, employees being happy through fulfilling work in a successful business) the application here became clear, & , literals, fundamental. Arguably, wellbeing is a perspective which has grown in recent years which gives me a real sense that looking at an organisation through each / any / all perspective(s) can cause shifts in focus, which can be caused by cultural shifts, market trends, leadership, employee voice & plenty more I'm sure

    In terms of my own professional values, whilst I've always 'had' them, I'm always surprised by how little I actually think about them or feel I can articulate them with any fluidity - this course has given me some structure I could build upon & reflect on more often