Rational Decision-Making Process
Students demonstrate the ability to apply various decision-making strategies and employ a rational process that avoids rationalizations and elevates logic over emotions and facts over feelings including:
- Identifying long-term and short-term objectives;
- Devising alternative courses of action to achieve the objectives;
- Foreseeing potential consequences to each person or group affected by the decision (i.e., stakeholder);
- Choosing the course of action most likely to produce the optimum (i.e., best possible) result; and
- Monitoring the effectiveness of the decision and making adjustments necessary to achieve the objectives.
Examples of tests for making decisions:
- Role Model Test – do what you think a person you admire for ethics and wisdom would do. (e.g., Mother Teresa, your grandmother);
- Publicity Rule – only do what you would do if you knew your decision would be known by everyone (e.g., reported on the 5 o’clock news or on Facebook);
- Golden Rule test: Would I want people to do this to me?
- The what‐if‐everybody‐did‐this test: Would I like it if everyone else did this?
- Positive Outcome Test (consequentialism) – when ethical values conflict (e.g., where the truth would be unkind) choose the best possible result by determining which option is most likely to produce the most long-term good and do the least harm for the most people;
Recognizing important decisions:
- Is there a possible danger of physical harm to you or anyone else?
- Could you or someone else suffer serious emotional pain?
- Could the decision hurt your reputation?
- Could the decision impede achieving an important goal?
- Could you or someone else suffer significant monetary or property loss?
I will be a better student if I act on the following belief:
- I will avoid resorting to rationalizing the decisions I make.
- Understand the difference between rationalization and a rational decision.
- Prepare scenarios that allow you to determine a course of action that is based on rational decision-making.
- Use literary works or historical documents to discuss if the choices made were rational or rationalizations.