Research Paper on Equality-Based Ethical Decision Making in Nursing Organizations

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1764 Words
Date:  2023-01-02


The fundamental principle in ethical decision making is how to establish equality and nonpartisan in decision making. Many nursing organizations managers strive to attain equality to promote the performance of the organization employees and ensure sustainable employee cooperation (Porter, 2013). Equality promotes cohesion and engagement of employee hence improving better organization performance. An ethical decision making and conduct refer to the approach of making morally responsible decisions that meets the principles of ethical behavior such as justice, nonpartisan conduct, observance to the law, and in good faith. Ethical decision making is considerate if the fundamental ethical principles that guide ethical conduct are adopted by organization leadership. This paper will assess an ethical dilemma situation observed within an organization in making promotional decisions based on merit or personal acquaintance and preferences. The paper will elaborate the legal, ethical and moral ramifications of the situation and the role of leadership style in facilitating the response to the dilemma.

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Ethical Dilemma Situation

The moral dilemma event occurred while I was working for a private healthcare organization where the rights of the employees were highly suppressed, and most of the employees were unwilling or unable to voice against the unethical conduct of the facility managers in terms of promotional decision making which were made on the basis of who knows who within the organization. Most of the employees within the organization had friendship ties dating back from high school and decisions were made in favor of the friendship ties and not the merit of those receiving commendations and promotions.

Case Scenario from an Experience

John who was the healthcare organization new human resources manager was faced with an ethical dilemma on which employee to promote to a senior position of the chief nurse after Mary Hopkins who had held the position for 12 years retired. John assessed all the candidates, but he was split on which employee to give the promotion due to the tradition of giving preference to friendships within the organization. John was under pressure from other senior leaders and supervisor to swing the decision towards their favored employee. John's subordinate and immediate supervisor made a suggestion, and also other employees approached the human resource manager seeking the promotion of the one they think is best suited for the position. Despite cross-checking the individual files of the employees, John finds out that all of the employees have advantages and disadvantages based on previous conduct and contributions to the organization. Liz who has more energy in doing work has a close relationship with John which makes it difficult to choose her for the promotion. From the work colleagues, they prefer Liz for the position because she is experiencing financial problems and giving the position to her will improve her financial situation and ease her current problems because the chief of nurse's job comes with a higher salary and more benefits. Another section of the employees is in support of Roy who had been Mary Hopkins assistant for five years. Roy is easy going and friendly to many employees and had been known to be an advocate of safety and had been involved in helping nurses to get a good working environment and necessary safety outfit. Besides, Roy had been actively participating in seeking the creation of a performance-oriented award system within the healthcare organization which had raised the performance of nurses. Due to the section of employees view regarding the sacrifice made by Roy towards the organization made the decision difficult for John. Besides, John realized that Roy's son was getting married to the vice president daughter which further complicated his available options and rationale for the new gap within the organization.

Ethical Dilemma Analysis

Ethical principles used in organizations ensure that a decision is both right and morally considerate, ethical decision making is important in an organization setting because it prevents conflicts that could result in poor organization performance and cooperation on important matters (Martin, 2014). However, in some cases, there are ethical dilemmas which are decisions split between the ethical principles and personal justifications (Fowler, 2015). The primary ethical question in this case scenario is making independent decisions in a corporate environment which has laws and processes that should guide in making such decisions. In healthcare organizations, promotion of employees should be on the merit of the candidates and not based on individual relationships and referrals which could reduce the morality of the decision to be made. The critical question being addressed here is the criteria and considerations of building a credible and ethically right decision in the face of an ethical dilemma. An ethical dilemma is in this case shown as challenging decision-making that has multiple choices and outcomes hence requiring critical thought and various considerations of critical moral principles to make a right decision (Martin, 2014). A wrong decision, in this case, could result in a divided organization and poor relationships which can affect the functioning of an organization.

The Role of a Moral Agent/Advocate in Such A scenario

A moral agent is an individual with the ability to discern between what is right and what is wrong and to have high moral accountability in decision making. Moral agents have a responsibility in a society where there are multiple situations of ethical injustice at the organization level and society at large. Besides, moral agents have the responsibility of not causing harm, and the role of a moral agent should be assigned to an individual who can be held responsible for their actions. As a moral agent in this situation, I have the responsibility of finding fault in the Human Resources decision-making approach and also the problem within the organization promotional standard which is a major cause of division within the organization employees and a source of poor employee engagement. As a moral agent, it is crucial to respond to the stalemate within the organization using an impeccable character that clearly states one's ethical position towards the ethical dilemma facing the healthcare organization human resources manager. Moral agents should have a moral oriented character and motivation to uphold morality within the organization decision making without the fear of reprisal from within the organization (Marquis & Huston, 2017). Therefore, in this particular issue as a moral agent, I would advocate for the use of performance and competency-based approach to decide on the best person for the situation between Liz and Roy and the best method to ensure that a similar situation is not experienced again within the organization (Disch, 2014). In terms of qualification, John is best suited for the position of the chief nurse irrespective of his family ties with the organization vice president through marriage.

Leadership Style Role in Resolving Ethical Dilemmas

A leadership style has a significant impact on the overall approach to ethical dilemmas. Although in most cases it is difficult to adapt to a single leadership style it is essential to consider a technique that can be used to promote ethical decision making (Marquis & Huston, 2017). For instance, an autocratic leadership style in this scenario could have helped John to make a moral decision making on the best-suited employee for the position if there were sufficient internal organization promotion guidelines. In the autocratic leadership style, a leader can make decisions without the input of the staff and the blame is placed on individuals rather than processes within the organization (Marquis & Huston, 2017). However, in such a case the decisions are highly incompetent because they do not involve the input of other employees and leaders. Democratic leadership style involves open communication and high staff participation in which organizational relationships are essential to democratic leaders. This leadership style creates a loophole for manipulation which makes it less appealing and ethical oriented in the face of dilemmas.

The best leadership style in such a situation could have been the affiliate and transformational leadership style combination which are my leadership philosophies and guide my decision making when given leadership role in teams and projects. The affiliate leadership style involves valuing teamwork and harmony within the organization. Affiliate based leaders seek to heal broken trust within the organization which is a significant problem within the highlighted case scenario from my experience. Transformational leadership style involves building relationships and motivating the teams within the organization to work together towards the shared goal (Zydziunaite & Suominen, 2014). In this leadership style, leaders create synergy within staff relations, and transformational leaders possess high confidence to drive change within the organization. As such, John as the new Human Resources manager should have advocated for a transformative change within the organization to create change and orient the organization towards a competency-based promotion and reward system that could prevent divisions within the organization and promote employees harmony in the long term.

Values and Principles that Guide Nursing Profession

The nursing profession is built upon values and principles that offer guidance and direction in decision making and the conduct of the leaders (Olson & Stokes, 2016). Amongst the values and principles in nursing include; privacy, justice, autonomy in decision making, truth, human dignity, human relationship, honesty, professional competency and sympathy (Gurney, Gillespie, McMahon, & Kolbuk, 2017). As a nurse, I am obliged by the value of truth and principles of professionalism to stand by moral truth and decisions irrespective of the consequences. As such, leaders should use values and professional principles in nursing to make decisions on important matters such as promotion and leadership. Leaders with high morality and professional competency are more suited to make ethical decisions and uphold morality within the organization (Woods, 2014).


In conclusion, ethical decision making and morality is a vital instrument in leadership, especially in healthcare organizations. When ethical conduct is observed at the leadership level and internal organization process they can easily be extended to the patients and other essential scenarios where ethical decision making is required. Leadership styles affect the ability of organizations and leaders to lead an organization through a moral transformation and although there are multiple leadership styles the orientation and ability to make good decisions depends on the leadership style approach. Transformational and affiliate based leadership styles can be useful in implementing change within my case scenario and helping a leader to uphold morality and justice within a healthcare organization internal systems.


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Emery, E. (2016). Ethical behavior, leadership, and decision making. Walden University. Retrieved from

Epstein, B., & Turner, M. (2015). The nursing code of ethics: Its value, its history. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 20(2), 1-10. Retrieved f...

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Research Paper on Equality-Based Ethical Decision Making in Nursing Organizations. (2023, Jan 02). Retrieved from

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