Modern psychology defines decision making as “… a cognitive process that results in selecting a belief or course of action from among several possibilities” (Tavris 189). In my Human Growth and Development class we talked about how there were several influences that shaped how we made these choices. The first is the situation; is this a decision that is being made within a set environment such as work or a legal confine? Or is this a choice which solely based within a personal environment? The following were the general questions that were discussed that each person will go through: (Tavris 188: Figure 6.1)
1. The Rule of Private Gain: if you are the only one personally gaining from the situation, is it at the expense of another? If yes, you may benefit from questioning your ethics in advance of the decision.
2. If Everyone Does It: Who would be hurt? What would the world be like? These questions help determine the ethically correct behavior.
3. Benefits vs. Burden: What are the benefits? Do they outweigh the burden that will come with it?
When we are within a set environment such as work, we usually have rules that are set up to help us with the decision making process. Many times there is very little room for personal values to come into play. This is by design so that the good of the company outweighs the good of the individual. We may struggle with the few choices we have morally but in the end we can only choose from the possible options within this frame work.
However, when we are faced with decisions on a personal level, our values play a very important part in what we choose to do. To give an example, a person is faced with the opportunity to go outside his/her relationship to engage in sexual activity with another individual. The choice is then weighed against the person’s sense of what he/she sees as being morally right or wrong and with his/her desire to not be unfaithful to their chosen partner. How one decides is most based upon their individual beliefs, their values, and their sense of right and wrong. There is also the factor of what will happen should they choice wrong and what consequences there will be in doing so.