Frontline Initiative Ethics

Applying the NADSP Code of Ethics to Your Ethical Dilemmas

Step 1: Identifying Stakeholders

Think about the situation at hand. Who are all of the people who are potentially involved in the situation and who may be affected by any decision you make? There may be primary relationships — those people directly involved in the situation and there may be secondary relationships — people who may have an interest in the outcome, but are not directly involved.

Step 2: Identifying Ethical Principals

What ethical standards from the NADSP Code of Ethics come into play in the situation? Is there more than one standard to be considered? Are there any ethical principles that may come into conflict with each other? Which two or three of the ethical standards are the most important for this situation? Do other principles come into play?

Step 3: Brainstorming Possible Actions

What are all of the possible actions you could take in this situation? Don’t immediately discount any idea – be open to any potential solution, no matter how silly it may seem at first. But do consider the ethical standards and potential stakeholders when suggesting a course of action.

Step 4: Choosing a Course of Action

Consider the possible benefits and potential negative outcomes or costs for each action. Select an action or combination of actions that you can do to resolve the situation. Then go ahead and act on your decision. Step 5: Evaluating Your Decision What were the outcomes of your actions? Did the situation resolve itself the way you had hoped? What did you learn from this that can be applied to future dilemmas?