Common Characteristics of Poor Decision Making

Business Law Ethics

Ethics in Action

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Common Characteristics of Poor Decision Making

In order to make ethically sound decisions, it is necessary to acquire and secure all the pertinent facts; therefore, one of the most common characteristics of a poorly made decision is the lack of necessary and relevant facts. Entering the decision making process with favor and bias toward a particular outcome is an additional trait of a decision that is poorly made (Mallor et al., 2009, p. 105). Seeking and hearing only facts that support the favored option, and averting the possibility of inconveniencing others to secure relevant and unbiased factual information is the mark of a lazy and unmotivated decision maker. A decision maker that is not thorough and persistent is not a good decision maker.

Because of the level of diversity in the workplace and the necessity to take into consideration all the stakeholders, evidence of a poor, potentially unethical decision is one that disregards the impact his or her decision will have on those vested in the company or corporation. Moreover, a characteristic of a poorly crafted decision is one that does not take the decision maker into consideration. The decision maker will be credited with the decision, good or bad, and the decision makers guidance can be critically important in making a sound decision beneficial to all those involved. Lastly, it is important to avoid the pitfalls of fallacious thinking; not jumping on the bandwagon or succumbing to the pity approach are important first for the decision maker to recognize and then to avoid (Mallor et al., p. 115).

Resisting Requests to Act Unethically

It is important to recognize requests to act unethically, and to do that, the person must know what being and acting ethically requires and entails. Although many of us in the workforce have a tendency and propensity to make decisions based on our relegated positioning within the company, resisting request to act unethically requires that our position not be the driving force in our decision-making. If a superior makes a request that is unethical, it is necessary that the person not simply acquiesce based on the appeal to authority and not act in fear of reprisal. A decision that requires the intimidation of staff persons and fail to take into account the needs of others may be one easily earmarked as unethical. Increasing one’s ability to discern the difference will be assistive in resisting requests to act in ways that are unethical (Mallor et al., p. 117).

One way to effectively manage and negate a request to act unethically is to buy time without outright refusal; particularly of a request made by a superior. (Mallor et al., p. 117). Delaying the response whether in writing or in person is one way to stall so that the person can seek counsel regarding the issue. Finding a solution that can be considered win-win is another way to effectively address a request that may be unethical. Determine what the requestor wants, what is needed and find a solution somewhere in the middle that can satisfy both sides. In addition, working within the system to stop unethical acts is another alternative; however, there are significant risks involved in this choice. With the right team of supporters and mentors rallying on your behalf, trying to change a culture can be more effective. But, in ethically ambiguous situations, it is important to choose battles wisely as the negative ramifications behind bucking the system can prove detrimental to your and your supporters employment health (Mallor et al., p. 118).

Lead Ethically

In order to lead ethically, the person must first be ethical and know what it means to act in an ethical manner professionally and personally. Communicating the organizations core ethical values aids in creating an ethical environment where sound and responsible behavior is or becomes the norm and not the exception. With that, visibly and vocally acknowledging and supporting ethical behavior helps to keep the work culture responsive to the organizations’ ethical principles and mission. Making the connection between ethical behavior and the best interest of workers is another sound practice in moving or keeping a company operating ethically. When tied to employee advancement and organizational profitability, the buy in for all staff becomes easier (Mallor et al., p. 119).


Mallor J., Barnes, A., Bowers, T., & Langvardt, A. (2009). Business law: The

ethical, global, and E-commerce Environment. Irwin: McGraw-Hill.

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