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Overcoming the ethical dilemma: communication decisions in the ethic ecosystem

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1 Author(s)
Sturges, D.L. ; Sch. of Bus. Adm., Univ. of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX, USA

Communication professionals face ethical dilemmas daily, although in many instances the ethical aspects of their decision making are unconscious or deliberately ignored because of the communicator's lack of understanding of how to judge the ethical dilemma. For communicators, the ethical dilemma ranges from judgment of personal behavior to the ethical appropriate- ness of designing communication programs with one ultimate objective: to change the behavior of a target audience. This paper suggests an Ethical Dilemma Decision Model that practitioners can use as a disciplined guide to evaluate decisions influenced by the "Ethic Ecosystem." The Ethic Ecosystem is a dynamic part of the organization's decision-making framework. Decisions made in the Ethic Ecosystem judge prospective behaviors as acceptable under constraints imposed by internal predisposition to judge goodness or badness (the moral judgment), acceptable under constraints imposed by external cultures at multiple levels (the franchised judgment), and acceptable under the constraints im- posed by the formalized rules of behavior defined by society, the organization, or the cultural group (the empowered judgment).

Published in:

Professional Communication, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:35 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

March 1992

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