Start working on a new BIG issue. Review and/or modify a previously saved BIG issue. Select from the options below then click on the continue button.

Introduction

BIG is a 7 step decision making process:

  • Step 1  Define issue - state what your BIG issue is
  • Step 2  Proposed action - state what you think will solve your BIG issue
  • Step 3  Ethics check - conduct a check for relevant stakeholders using generic ethical values
  • Step 4  Probity check - check other governance and probity aspects of this solution
  • Step 5  Decision - state your amended decision that takes acount of steps 3 and 4
  • Step 6  Reality check - to ensure the decision is justified
  • Step 7  Results - see and/or record ther results of the decision process

Use the tabs above to navigate to the step or sub-step that you require. Read the information at each step and type your response in the space provided. You only need to fill in those parts that you believe will assist you to make your decision.

Return to a previous step at any time by using the tabs above and alter the responses if you wish. You can review what you have entered at any time by going to the Results tab and selecting the View button and returning by selecting the tab you wish to return to.

If you exit BIG or leave the Big Issue Grappler area by going to the home button, the Welcome screen or the About Big then the data you have entered may be lost. To ensure you keep the data intact for printing or saving, go to the Results tab and save or print your data.

Examples

View some example issues that were solved with BIG

Privacy

The information you enter into BIG is lost when you exit BIG unless you save it at the Results page. If you save it under your login ID and password, it is stored at the BIG site but is not viewed, monitored or copied except by legal compulsion or by your agreement.

step
01

Define issue

State in the box below what it is that makes you need to make a decision. This can be hard to do but is important to your BIG decision. Don't race ahead and type in causes, symptoms or solutions. Identify the problem itself. If you are unsure, try the hints & tips. You can also view the examples on the BIG Introduction page.


step
02

Proposed action

State in the box below what you think can be done to solve the issue. State it as clearly as possible. If you have more than one choice of action, state what your instinct tells you might be the best. You can always come back to BIG and work through another choice later. BIG does not demand a yes or no answer to your proposed action.

Often, BIG helps you alter your proposal into a decision that can improve the results of your choice of action. Steps 3 & 4 will help you identify risks arising from your proposed solution so that you can make a better decision.

To find the best solution, it is important to have sound reasoning based on logic that avoids fallacies and errors. View some easy mistakes.


step
03

Ethics check

BIG lets you assess your proposed action against a range of generic ethical values. You don't have to assess against all of them. To help you, BIG breaks them into 3 categories:

generic ethcical values framework

Notes:

* you can insert your own ethical value if you have one that is important to your decision that is not listed

** some business issues may need assessment for democratic leadership and public interest particularly if it has a strong environmental, social and/or governance element

A personal issue is assessed from your own viewpoint.

A business issue is assessed from the viewpoint of the firm you work for.

A government issue is assessed from a 'public interest' viewpoint (i.e. the individual assessing must be 'selfless' and put public interest before their own or their organisation's interest).

BIG is flexible enough to allow you to assess more than one category in the same session if, say, a solution to a work issue also has personal implications.

Big issues are often dilemmas involving ethical choices.  The ethical values can be in conflict.  Some ethical values will be more important than others for your particular dilemma.  It helps to have someone trustworthy to talk to who can help work out which ethical value should have priority.

Select from the Tabs above (personal issues, business issues or government issues) to open a sub-menu where you can assess the ethical impact on those affected by your decision. Ignore those not affected.

Preview definitions of the generic ethical values.

step
03

Ethics check

Assess ethical values for one, some or all the following:

  • one family member
  • other family members
  • one friend
  • other friends
  • community
step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Compassion


Compassion defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Compassion


Compassion defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Compassion


Compassion defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Compassion


Compassion defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Compassion


Compassion defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Assess ethical values for one, some or all the following:

  • one colleague
  • other colleagues
  • one business relationship
  • other business relationships
  • one customer
  • other customers
  • other stakeholders
  • myself
step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Compassion


Compassion defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Compassion


Compassion defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Efficiency


Efficiency defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Efficiency


Efficiency defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Efficiency


Efficiency defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Efficiency


Efficiency defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Democratic leadership


Democratic leadership defined

Public interest


Public interest defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Accountability


Accountability defined

Objectivity


Objectivity defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Assess ethical values for one, some or all the following:

  • one colleague
  • other colleagues
  • one business relationship
  • other business relationships
  • one customer
  • other customers
  • myself
step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Compassion


Compassion defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Compassion


Compassion defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Efficiency


Efficiency defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Efficiency


Efficiency defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Compassion


Compassion defined

Efficiency


Efficiency defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Integrity


Integrity defined

Honesty


Honesty defined

Fairness


Fairness defined

Openness


Openness defined

Compassion


Compassion defined

Efficiency


Efficiency defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
03

Ethics check

Use these values to assess the proposed action. Only complete those that are relevant to your solution.

Points to consider


  • People expect to be told of decisions that adversely affect them or their organisation - they have a right of reply - they expect to be treated equally with the same opportunities as others in similar circumstances - they won't appreciate carelessness, recklessness of indifference to their interests
  • Reputation, financial standing and general wellbeing are important to people and their organisation - they should not be tarnished by incorrect comments or mistaken actions - state or act only on established objective facts, particularly about previous performance, to prevent potential harm to others
  • Information entered must be valid, relevant, true and complete
  • Tasks that are clearly inefficient or an unnecessary waste of time and resources should not be imposed

Accountability


Accountability defined

Objectivity


Objectivity defined

Democratic leadership


Democratic leadership defined

Public interest


Public interest defined

Other value


Other values defined

Once you have typed in information for the values you may select another stakeholder from the menu.

step
04

Probity Check

Here you assess all other governance and probity values. While ethics is a key and integral part of governance and probity, BIG has separated it for emphasis and to make it easier to deal with.

There are 3 main probity checks.

1. Obey the law


Justice systems do not permit ignorance as an excuse for breaking the law. Obeying the law is basic to governance, probity and ethical behaviour. Check your proposed solution to be sure that you obey both the spirit and letter of the law.

Type in any comments

2. Comply with codes of conduct


Organisations and government entities usually have a code of conduct and/or a code of ethics setting out standard expectations about employee behaviour. Often, these principles are equally valid in private life.

There may be a religious duty or code of practice or other cultural expectation that should be considered for individuals grappling with a decision that involves religious or cultural identity. List these and assess whether the proposed action will breach any of these rules, guidelines and/or customs. Select the Code of Conduct button for more information.

Type in any comments

3. Following rules


Organisations and government entities develop systems, policies, practices, procedures and guidelines to help prevent errors and wrong decisions. Check that you follow the rules.

Occasionally, a rule may inflexible and conflict with the 'right' thing to do. If there is a conflict, fully discuss it with a supervisor and obtain their agreement before proceeding. If there is still a conflict, discuss with other managers/supervisors and keep discussing it until the conflict is resolved. Select the Typical Rules button to view a list of typical rules for an organisation.

Type in any comments

step
05

Decision

Type the decision in the box below.

This may an altered proposed solution to reduce the risks of impacts on others you found under step 3 (ethics check) and/or to prevent conflicts you found under step 4 (probity check).

Click on the hints and tips button for more guidence.


step
06

Reality check

This is your final check; ask yourself:

  • "What could go wrong with the solution chosen?"
  • "Are there any other possible options that could be assessed?"
  • "Am I being fair, honest and objective?"
  • "Will my action stand the test of time?"
  • "How will I feel about myself afterwards?"
  • "How will it look on the front page of the newspaper?"
  • "Will I sleep soundly tonight?"
  • "What would I tell my child or parent to do?"
  • "How would I feel if my family, friends or neighbours knew I had done this?"
  • "Could the action give a negative perception?"
  • "Am I confident I can justify this decision?"
  • "Am I prepared to take responsibility for this action?"
Type in any comments

step
07

Results

View


Select the view button to view all the information (only those sections that you have entered information into will be displayed). You may edit the information but if you need to add new sections you will need to return to that section using the tabs above. (If you edit the information scroll bars may appear. Click outside the edit area and the scroll bars should disappear).

Print


Select the print button to print all the information. You will be presented with the browser's print dialogue box.

Save to Disk


Select the save to disk button to save your information to a local drive. The file will be in PDF format. When you select "Save to Disk" button, a new dialog box will open. From the dialogue box:

  • Select Save File radio button >> Click "Ok" button / Select Save button
  • Select the folder to save the file
  • Type in an appropriate file name
  • Change the "Save As Type' setting to "Adobe Acrobat Document"
  • Select the Save button

Note. Using this save method will not allow you to edit the file in this program. If you would like to save your work and continue editing in a future session select the next save option.


Save



Select the save button to save your information for use in a future session.

The data will be stored by BIG and you can revisit it again to review or modify it by accessing it with your User ID and Password and selecting the file (you may have more than one saved).

Note. Making changes to a previously saved file will overwrite the previous file text when you use this save feature.

Upload PDF


Select file

Hints & Tips

Ask yourself:

  • "Is this really a problem or am I simply avoiding a difficult task or unpleasant duty?"
  • "Why must I decide to do something?" Don't accept the first answer. Keep asking "why?" until you drill down to the real reason.
  • "Is there someone I trust that I can talk to?"
  • "What is not the issue?"
  • "Is this my problem?"
  • "Is this the real problem or only part of a larger one?"
  • "Do I need more information?"

Hints & Tips

Ask yourself:

  • "Is there someone I trust that I can talk to?"
  • "Is this problem worth solving?"
  • "Is the proposed action suitable for these circumstances?"
  • "Is the proposed action relevant?"
  • "Is this a new solution or one that did not work before?"
  • "What was wrong with previous solutions, if any?"
  • "Is there sufficient money or other resources to implement this proposal?"
  • "Is this solution dealing with the facts or is it an opinion that has prejudice or bias?'
  • "Will this solution meet opposition that cannot be overcome?"
  • "Can this solution solve other problems at the same time?"
  • "Will this solution create more problems?
  • "What might be the advantages or disadvantages of this proposal?"
  • "Do I need more information?"

Easy Mistakes

It can be hard to state a solution for the problem identified. Watch out for these easy mistakes:

Black or White
Opening the Floodgates
Apples & Oranges
Faulty Comparison
Poor Poor Me
Bandwagon
Card Stacking
Sum of the Parts
Tainted Brush
Circular Reasoning
False Cause
Put Down
If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It
Bad Precedent
Dangling Comparison
Two Wrongs
All or Nothing
Wishful Thinking
Labelling
Club Members Only
Exceptions to the Rule
Trite Sayings
Dogma
Anecdote
Ignorance is Bliss
Wrong Authority
Weak Analogy

 

Black or White


Be careful of the word 'or'. It can pretend that there are 2 choices only. For example: "raise revenue or cut expenses" as a solution to an issue of poor profitability ignores other alternatives such as doing both; improving the product; managing inventory more efficiently; using better marketing; selling a loss making part of the business etc. There can be many other 'or's in between one extreme and another.

Return to top

Opening the Floodgates


Watch out for the word 'if'. It can make things seem worse than they are.

For example: "If I let one person wear jeans to work, soon everyone will all be doing it and on hot days, they will start wearing skimpy clothing or even swimwear". "If" can take you down the slippery slope to the bottom by ignoring all the jumping off steps on the way down.

Return to top

Apples & Oranges


And that word 'and' can be awkward because it can combine two different things that should not be put together or that can't be properly dealt with when they are together.

For example: a solution saying "support peace and the right to bear arms" is really two solutions to two different issues. It becomes difficult to assess the solution because 'yes' might apply to one part of the solution but not the other. It is like demanding an yes/no answer to the question "have you stopped selling illegal drugs?". It is difficult to answer either yes nor no because there are two parts to the question - until you properly answer one part 'have you sold illegal drugs' it becomes impossible to properly answer the other part 'did you stop'.

Return to top

Faulty Comparison


Coincidence is not cause.

For example: "I once hired the cheapest contractor and it was a disaster", when given as a reason for a solution to never look at the cheapest bids in a tender again, ignores all other possible causes such as bad weather, bad communication or even your own poor ability to supervise or manage the contract properly.

Return to top

Poor Poor Me


Appealing to pity for charity is common but can otherwise be troublesome.

For example: "Give the job to Y because Y has always been the underdog (groomsman or bridesmaid) to X" ignores the most important part of who is best to do the job. The same applies to any appeal to emotion. Try to remain objective and examine the facts in the issue.

Return to top

Bandwagon


Peer pressure or popularity can lead to decisions on want rather than need.

For example: "Build a big two storey house" as a decision because big houses are becoming more common or because you saw a movie star advertise one, ignores the number of people that will live in it or whether they are physically able to climb stairs, etc.

Return to top

Card Stacking


Suppressing information to reach a particular conclusion can have a disappointing result.

For example: "Buy car A" as a solution because it is cheaper and has an airbag ignores other aspects such as mileage, repair costs, comfort, space, quality, style, warranty etc.

Return to top

Sum of the Parts


Beware of samples. One part does not make a whole.

For example: a solution of "hire the top graduate from law school" to an issue identified as "making our firm the smartest law firm around" relies on one sample only. Does one top graduate make everyone else in the firm the smartest? A small sample is an indicator only. Other small samples might indicate something else entirely.

Return to top

Tainted Brush


Try not to match two separate events as though they are related.

For example: "Firm X has tendered for the work. A newspaper recently reported that a vicious mass murderer said firm X was the best firm". This should not be interpreted as "Firm X can't be the best for the job since it supports mass murderers".

Return to top

Circular Reasoning


It is not a BIG issue if your proposed solution is simply a restatement of your problem. For example: "we have a vacant position" is not the real issue if the proposed solution is "fill the vacant position. The issue may be better identified as "whether the vacant position should be filled".

Return to top

False Cause


Just because two events happen together does not mean that one caused the other.

For example: "reduce buses" as a solution to an issue of increasing incidents of crime, based on information that both crime and buses increased last year in the same proportion. The real connection may be something else such as increasing population.

Return to top

Put Down


This is belittling a solution so that once you agree to it, you are placed in the same unpleasant belittled category.

For example: "only a fool would give J the job. No person of any worth could disagree! You'd have to be stupid to believe otherwise" is not a logical way to decide whether J is the best person for the job.

Return to top

If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It


Doing things in a particular way because of tradition can mean that nothing can improve or become better.

For example: "That's the way we've always done it" as reasoning for a proposed solution fails to open the mind to other possible opportunities to improve things. It may be that the reason that there was only one way of doing something was to solve a problem that existed a long time ago but is no longer a relevant problem today. Changing technologies can make traditional solutions useless. Be careful though, not to make change simply for the sake of making change and no other good logical reason.

Return to top

Bad Precedent


Precedents are often used as authority to follow the same path. Bad behaviour is not justified by failing to assess the integrity of how it was done before.

For example: "we cut corners last time and employed a friend of D's and it worked out alright" is not a good reason to employ another friend of D's without testing the skills market. It substantially reduces the number of people who could be the best person for the job.

Return to top

Dangling Comparison


Comparing words are not helpful unless the rest of the comparison is there.

For example: "K is better than P" as a reason for choosing K in your solution begs the question "better at what?" Avoid words like, 'best, 'safest', 'cleanest', 'taller' etc, unless you also state what it is compared to.

Return to top

Two Wrongs


It is rare for one wrong to correct another wrong. Mostly, it makes the problem worse

For example: a proposal to cover up a bad mistake by falsifying a report based on a fear of the mistake being discovered leads to exposure to another fear of being found out - that of lying in a report.

Return to top

All or Nothing


Be careful of statements that are at the extremes since they can limit what you assess.

For example: deciding not to start your own business based on a belief that "all business people put profits before people" is invalid. Maybe there are business people who put profits first before everything but not all business people would do so.

Return to top

Wishful Thinking


Simply wishing things to be different does not make them different.

For example: a solution of not going to see your sick grandmother based on reasoning that "I couldn't bear to lose her. I am sure she will get better" does not address the issue of whether you should see you sick grandmother.

Return to top

Labelling


Casting a slur on an individual seldom solves the issue.

For example: "you can't hire J, she is a fat, lazy pig!" does not address the issue of whether J is the best person for the job.

Return to top

Club Members Only


Be careful of flattery because it may be appealing to pride or snobbery rather than leading to the best solution to your problem.

For example: "we must advertise the job in Z magazine, a magazine that is not for just anyone but is only for a handful of bright, intelligent, literate people" may exclude hiring bright, intelligent, literate people that don't read Z magazine. It could lock your firm into hiring from a very select minority group of people that have difficulty relating with the community at large.

Return to top

Exceptions to the Rule


Accepting a rule as valid without any exceptions can lead to faulty decision making.

For example: a rule such as "a promise must be kept" can lead to a false conclusion that it will be kept. Circumstances can alter a promise. For instance, "My neighbour H borrowed my rifle and promised to return it by yesterday. I need it to shoot his annoying yapping dog. H has not done the right thing by not keeping his promise."

Return to top

Trite Sayings


These are explanations that are meaningless and do not help to solve the problem.

For example: "I'm sorry your Dad died but we've all got to go sometime".

Return to top

Dogma


Refusing to believe that a cherished belief may be wrong.

For example: "vitamin C prevents me from catching a cold. I caught a cold this year. I must have had a bad batch of vitamin C" fails to recognise that vitamin C may not always prevent colds.

Return to top

Anecdote


Firsthand stories should not be overemphasised to discount proper research or testing.

For example: "I've heard the research and read the warning labels but my mother smokes and has never been sick for one day in her life, so I know that smoking cannot hurt you"

Return to top

Ignorance is Bliss


Just because it has not or cannot be proven does not mean that it should be ignored. After all, the world was once thought to be flat.

For example: "no one has proved that the Loch Ness monster does not exist, so it must exist"

Return to top

Wrong Authority


Be sure that information from an expert is information from their specialist field of knowledge. e.g. an adopted person should not rely on a statement by the local mayor that "meeting natural parents after many years will cause psychological damage" as the reason for deciding not to meet their natural parent. It would be better to rely on a statement from a practicing psychologist.

Return to top

Weak Analogy


What is true in one situation is not necessarily true for all.

For example: "I will not let my daughter go to piano lessons because she didn't go to drama classes after her second lesson". Music and drama may both be creative art lessons but dropping out of drama lessons does not mean that she will drop out of piano lessons. Maybe she didn't like the teacher or a class mate bullied her.

Return to top

Values

Use the following values to assist you to make decisions (click on each button for more information).



Integrity

  • sound moral principle, uprightness, and sincerity
  • acting responsibly
  • promoting ethical practice
  • reliable & trustworthy
  • acting according to belief not expediency
  • never duplicitous or obsequent to gain advantage - what you see is what you get
  • consistent principles from situation to situation whether at work or home, in public or alone
  • avoiding improper influences or conflicts of interests that would impair independent and unbiased judgement - not diverted from moral standing with the courage of convictions (even when there may be a price to be paid for doing so)

Honesty

  • truthfully presenting facts to the best of your knowledge
  • never knowingly making false, misleading, deceiving or negligent statements
  • sincere & genuine without trickery or duplicity
  • acting with candour forthrightness and frankness
  • obeying the law and following both the letter and spirit of policies and procedures
  • observing codes of conduct
  • fully disclosing actual or potential conflicts of interest
  • volunteering information that others need to know but adhering to any obligation of confidentiality
  • committing to truthful and accurate communication
  • correcting mistakes promptly and voluntarily

Fairness

  • making decisions on the basis of merit and without bias, favouritism or prejudice
  • considering only matters relevant to the decision
  • treating people equally & without discrimination and in a way that the individual ought to be treated
  • having a balanced standard of justice without relenting to your own feelings or inclinations
  • considering the interests of others and giving them appropriate weight & consideration
  • being objective and impartial in decision making
  • conforming with principles of procedural fairness and following due process and not taking advantage of a weaknesses or the arrogance of others

Openness

  • recording and revealing reasons for decisions
  • revealing other options or avenues available to the individual client or business
  • when authorised, offering all information
  • restricting information only where confidentiality and the wider public good demands it
  • communicating clearly
  • promoting trust and accountability
  • giving information without impinging the privacy of oth information that might otherwise give a perception of conflict of interest

Compassion

  • being concerned about the welfare of others
  • considering your fellow citizens
  • feeling an emotional response to both anguish and pleasure of others
  • ability and willingness to identify with the suffering of other persons
  • causing no more harm than reasonably necessary to perform your duty
  • honestly expressing benevolence or altruism
  • listening to and being attentive to the viewpoints of others without adopting the view as your own

Efficiency

  • looking for ways to improve performance and achieve high standards
  • being prudent when spending money that is not your own
  • avoiding waste
  • preventing maladministration
  • promoting optimum output from inputs used
  • keeping up-to-date with advances and changes in areas of expertise
  • showing responsible stewardship of limited resources available
  • responding promptly without unnecessary delay

Accountability

  • recording reasons for decisions
  • submitting to scrutiny
  • keeping proper records
  • establishing audit trails
  • being able to justify decisions and actions to those entitled to call for justification
  • never shifting blame to others or claiming credit for the work of others
  • considering likely consequences of behaviour
  • leading by example

Objectivity

  • judgment based on observable phenomena where different people examining the same evidence can reach the same conclusion
  • uninfluenced by emotions, feelings, personal opinions, beliefs or prejudices
  • acting impartially and without bias
  • dealing only with relevant facts without permitting influence of any innuendo
  • adopting an independent approach free of conflicts of interest
  • addressing the event or thing itself rather than people's impressions and adopting merit selection principles

Democratic leadership

  • demonstrating ethical conduct to family, friends, colleagues and the community
  • adhering to social, environmental & economic responsibilities to the public
  • promoting equal opportunity for all while granting special privilege for none
  • adopting and encouraging mutual responsibility
  • empowering people to act for themselves
  • promoting civic duty by your own ethical behaviour
  • adopting sustainable resource management principles

Public interest

  • giving advice frankly and fearlessly promoting public duty to others by your own ethical behaviour
  • promoting sustainable use of resources and environmental protection
  • carefully considering safety and wellbeing of the community at large

Other values

Consider any important non-generic value here - such as:

  • religious duty
  • cultural responsibility
  • loyalty
  • courtesy
  • respect
  • dignity
  • competence
  • trust
  • responsiveness

Code of Conduct

A typical code of conduct might include:

Responsibility to Employer


  • Maintaining integrity & reputation
  • Fair, unbiased & accurate advice
  • Implementing policies impartially
  • Political and community participation
  • Public comment & personal views

Respect for People


  • Accepting & appreciating ethnic diversity
  • Harassment, bullying & discrimination free workplace
  • Security & privacy of confidential records
  • Health, welfare & workplace safety

Personal Integrity


  • Conflicts of interest & personal beliefs
  • Accepting of gifts or benefits
  • Intellectual property & employment after leaving
  • Use and protection of private & confidential information
  • Keeping proper books & records

Quality Work/Service


  • Professional & responsible conduct commitment
  • Ethical decision making
  • Maintaining & advancing expertise
  • Reporting wrongdoing, unnecessary waste, fraud & corruption

Typical Rules

Typical rules for an organisation or government entity might include:

  • Accounting & administrative manual
  • Appropriate Internet access
  • Banking procedures
  • Dealing with misconduct
  • Dealing with unsatisfactory performance
  • Delegations of authority
  • Drug & alcohol use at work
  • Electronic communications obligations
  • Employee assistance counselling
  • Employee expense reimbursement
  • Equitable treatment of employees
  • Fraud control & corruption prevention strategy
  • Grievance dispute resolution guidelines
  • Guide to the disciplinary process
  • Harassment policy
  • Internal control of operations
  • Merit selection
  • Performance evaluations
  • Petty cash access
  • Private & business e-mail usage
  • Procurement & supplier processes
  • Protection for reporters of wrongdoing
  • Protection of computer equipment & other assets
  • Protecting confidential and private information
  • Records management (including computer records)
  • Risk assessment procedures
  • Security & safety procedures
  • Separate private employment
  • Telephone & mobile use
  • Tendering & contracting processes
  • Training & development
  • Workplace bullying
  • Workplace safety policy

Hints on How to make a Decision

Ask yourself:

  • "Is there someone I can trust that I can talk to in case there is something I have missed?"
  • "Is this solution both suitable and practical?"
  • "Is the response adequate; that is sufficient and not too extreme?"
  • "How likely will it actually solve the problem?"
  • "Is it flexible enough to respond to unintended consequences?"
  • "Can it cope with new possibilities?"
  • "Will adverse effects on others be addressed or mitigated?"
  • "Will the long run have greater good from this decision than adverse affects imposed now?"
  • "Have possible compromises been considered?"
  • "Is this decision compatible with my inner feelings or intuition?"

Login

For New Users







For Existing Users











Member Login





Title List

Example

There are 2 examples in each category below. Each example shows one result of working through BIG You might reach a different result if you use BIG to work through the example yourself.

Personal Issues


Example 1
Example 2

Business Issues


Example 1
Example 2

Government Issues


Example 1
Example 2

 

Personal Issues Example 1 Scenario

Jack lives with his elderly mother. She suffers from dementia and had previously made him promise that he would not put her in a nursing home. She said her dearest wish was to die with dignity in the family home. Jack's brother lives on the other side of the country. Jack promised his mother and his brother that he would look after her until her very last day. Jack himself suffers from occasionally bouts of arthritis and often has difficulty lifting anything heavy. Recently, Jack's mother had wandered away and was lost for a couple of days. Community members took time off work to participate in a search party. She was found safe but had fallen and broken her hip. The doctors at the hospital said that Jack was no longer able to care for her and that she must be placed into a nursing home where she could receive continual specialist care.


Step 1. Define Issue

Example 1 - Jack's mother needs more specialist care than Jack can personally provide

Step 2. Proposed Action

Example 1 - Consider placing mother into a nursing home

Step 3. Ethics Check

Integrity

placing his mother into a nursing home will be a breach of trust since his promise to his mother will not have been kept

Honesty

Jack is more honest with himself and his mother by admitting that he can no longer care for her as well as he used to or would like to

Fairness

it is unfair to both Jack and his mother for Jack to continue to do something that he is no longer capable of doing well

Openness

Jack will tell his mother that he is no longer physically capable of looking after her all the time

Compassion

Jack can still see his mother as much as possible without a burden of concern about her welfare partly caused by his own physical incapacity

Other value

Dignity - Jack's mother's dignity can still be preserved but not in the way she expected, for instance, she could be brought home with a specialist nurse for her final days

Integrity

placing his mother into a nursing home breaches the promise Jack made to his mother and brother

Honesty

Jack will tell his brother that he can no longer give their mother the best care possible

Fairness

Jack's brother should be given the opportunity to contribute something to their mother's wellbeing

Openness

Jack will tell his brother and mother why he is considering placing her into a nursing home

Compassion

Jack will explain that he regrets not being able to keep his promise but has been forced into this position by circumstances not within his control

Other value

Loyalty - Jack can still see his mother at the nursing home as much as possible to help in any way he can

Fairness

attempting to continue care for his mother at home would be unfair on the community if she again goes missing for a few days and another search party is needed to find her

Step 4. Probity Check

Obey the law

Laws do not apply

Comply with codes of conduct

Not keeping a promise to family breaches an expectation about the conduct of family members

Step 5. Decision

Place mother in specialist care but bring her home from time to time as much as possible during periods when Jack is physically capable of coping

Step 6. Reality Check

Despite feelings of guilt associated with breaking a promise to his mother, Jack is aware that he is physically incapable of keeping that promise except for limited periods of time

Personal Issues Example 2 Scenario

James is the family computer guru. His mother told him the home computer had become sluggish and asked him to try and speed it up. James was cleaning out unnecessary files when he saw a computer log that suggested his mother may have been flirting over the Internet. He investigated further and found saved messages and emails that made it clear she was having a clandestine relationship with someone outside the family. He knew this information would greatly upset everyone in the household, especially his father.


Step 1. Define Issue

Example 2 - James' mother seems to be having a clandestine affair that could shatter family harmony

Step 2. Proposed Action

Example 2 - Talk to his mother about it

Step 3. Ethics Check

Integrity

while James' mother's integrity is compromised by what James found, so is James' integrity for having probed into his mother's private messages and emails

Honesty

James will not be honest if he fails to mention to his mother what he did

Fairness

James will raise his suspicions with his mother to give her an opportunity to rebut them

Openness

James will tell his mother that he breached her privacy but may suggest that she has breached his confidence if what he suspects is true

Compassion

James does not want to hurt or upset his mother

Other value

Trust - James will not be able to trust his mother unless he talks to her about his suspicions - even then it may not be possible to rebuild trust between them

Integrity

James can maintain some integrity by not spreading his suspicions unnecessarily or without good cause

Honesty

James may not be able to be honest with other family members without his mother's consent or agreement

Fairness

It may be unfair that other family members are not privy to what James knows

Openness

it could damage family relationships if James is not careful about how he deals with his suspicions

Compassion

James does not want to hurt or upset the other family members

Other value

Trust - if other family members find out that James knew something important about their mother but didn't tell them, it could lead to bitter recriminations

Step 4. Probity Check

Obey the law

In James' country it is not an offence to have a clandestine affair nor is it an offence to pry into information contained on family computers if you are a family member

Comply with codes of conduct

James' family has no cultural or religious affiliations and are mostly unaffected by such conduct expectations. However, unwritten family behavioural expectations may have been breached

Step 5. Decision

James will speak quietly with his mother and work an agreeable solution together

Step 6. Reality Check

James understands that there are risks in maintaining confidentiality until he is satisfied there is a resolution to the issue he is confronted with and that this includes how his mother may react but he is willing to accept those risks at this time

Business Issues Example 1 Scenario

The company's sales system is troublesome for staff to manage.  It was developed 5 years ago after awarding the tender to the biggest software developers in the city.  Before it was completed, it had run over budget by more than twice as much as originally quoted and after arguments about performance and who was responsible for the delays and problems, the company paid out the big contractors and then contracted one programmer, Derek, to fix the faults. 

Now the company wants to build a new sales system that will work on the Internet.  Derek approached Mary, the information technology manager, and said that he could do the project.  Derek quoted a very reasonable price and timeline to complete.  Mary sees Derek as a good performer who knows what is wanted in the new sales system.  Mary has total confidence in Derek's ability.  The figure Derek quoted is three times the limit of company policy that requires a tender.  Mary remembers the last tender disaster for the sales system and wants to avoid it this time.

 


Step 1. Define Issue

Whether to give the sales system to Derek without a tender process

Step 2. Proposed Action

Undertake a tender process

Step 3. Ethics Check

Integrity

Tell Derek that it must go to tender to ensure the integrity of the procurement process

Honesty

Agree with Derek that he could do the project well but that due diligence and proper process must be followed

Fairness

Explain that no special privilege can be granted and that there must be equal opportunity for all suppliers

Openness

Inform senior management about the decision and document it

Compassion

Express to Derek but be firm about following the proper process

Integrity

All potential suppliers must be confident in the integrity of the tendering/procurement process

Fairness

No favouritism will be shown to any potential supplier

Openness

The decision will be documented

Efficiency

Efficiency in the longer term is achieved with healthy competition

Accountability

An audit trail has been kept of the decision making process

Objectivity

The can be no perception of favouritism to Derek by breaching rules

Step 4. Probity Check

Obey the law

No breach of law

Comply with codes of conduct

No breach of the Code of Conduct

Following rules

Company rules are complied with

Step 5. Decision

Express regret to Derek but mention that he will have the opportunity to lodge his tender along with any other firm that wishes to tender for the work

Step 6. Reality Check

The decision can be readily justified

Business Issues Example 2 Scenario

Jack's supervisor, Brad, came from overseas with his family to join the company.  Jack and his wife helped them settle in since they had no family or friends nearby.  The two families became firm friends and frequently socialised together. 

 Recently, a man arrived in the country that Brad had worked closely with overseas for many years.  Brad took him on a site inspection to one of the company's operations.  Brad told Jack that the man had a 'state of the art' product that would make the company's operations more efficient.  Jack said there were other brands readily available that could do the same thing.  He told Brad it was against company policy to give contracts for work without testing the marketplace to find the best quote.  Brad said he wanted this man to do the work saying the man had the best product and that he knew the man would do a quality job.  

 Later, Jack heard Brad tell the man there would be ten more jobs just like this one for him to work on.  Jack told Brad that it was company policy to go to tender for large projects across the organisation.  Brad said that they were all separate individual projects and each of them were within his budget limits and delegated authority.  He told Jack not to resist or interfere any further.  Brad issued a contract to the man for the first company site upgrade.  Jack felt unhappy and uncomfortable about it.  He knows that his conscience will not let him rest and that this tension would poison relationships at home.

 


Step 1. Define Issue

Brad has issued work to an associate without proper process

Step 2. Proposed Action

Jack will inform the internal audit manager

Step 3. Ethics Check

Integrity

Jack will be sincere about what he must do to resolve the issue

Honesty

Jack will inform his family about his proposed action and what some outcomes might be. Jack will be mindful of confidentiality issues when choosing what to say.

Fairness

Jack will keep his family informed of all developments subject to any confidentiality requirements.

Openness

Jack will inform his family about his proposed action without going into detail for confidentiality reasons

Compassion

Jack will listen to his family's concerns and address them as much as possible

Integrity

Jack will tell Brad's family about the action he will take and explain why he is taking it. Jack will be careful not to give out any confidential information

Honesty

Jack will not keep any secrets from either family except for confidentiality aspects in which case he will explain why it is confidential

Fairness

Jack will give Brad's family the opportunity to express their view about his proposed actioin

Openness

Jack will reveal the reasons for his decision without giving out confidential information

Compassion

Jack will listen carefully to all Brad's family's concerns

Integrity

Jack acted responsibly and told Brad about company policy

Honesty

Brad did not hide the contracting arrangement from Jack

Fairness

Jack gave Brad the opportunity to resolve it and will invite Brad to the meeting with the internal auditor to give his side of the story

Openness

Jack will tell Brad about the action he will take

Compassion

Jack knows that friendly relationships between the two families may become strained and will commit himself to making sure there is nothing misunderstood between them

Fairness

Other service/product suppliers deserve equal opportunity to bid for company contracts

Openness

Other business would like the opportunity to bid for the work

Efficiency

While Brad's decision making process was quick and easy it does not demonstrate that the most efficient contractor has been engaged to do the work

Accountability

Jack will document his decision and the reasons for it

Objectivity

Jack has not permitted family friendship and a good personal relationship with Brad to influence his judgement

Step 4. Probity Check

Obey the law

No breach of law

Comply with codes of conduct

The internal auditor can give an independent view about whether the Code of Conduct may have been breached for a conflict of interest

Following rules

Brad has not properly complied with the company's procurement policies

Step 5. Decision

Jack will arrange a meeting with the internal auditor to discuss the procurement issue and invite Brad to attend so that he can give his own views

Step 6. Reality Check

Jack can readily justify his action

Government Issues Example 1 Scenario

Shane lives and works in a country area where it is impossible to find another job paying the same money that he receives. His family is established locally and does not want to move home to live anywhere else. He has a big mortgage on the family homestead. Shane's department was instructed to fund recent salary award increases through increased internal efficiencies without reducing 'front-line' services to the public. This had been a standard requirement for wage increases over the last 15 years. The department already had staff working longer hours than the award permitted. There was no so-called 'fat' left to trim. The department was as lean as it could be. The only possible service available for Shane to cut that is not 'front-line' is a compliance program that has been attracting criticism - in reality for its effectiveness. But this would mean axing the jobs of his best friends, Fred and Kate. Shane knows their families will be devastated and that this will have an adverse impact on his own family. He also knows that while removal of the compliance program will reduce criticism of the government, it will increase the risk of an environmental disaster sometime in the future. He knows, too, that the government of the day will not accept such an event as a possibility and that if he said anything, his own job would be axed.

Step 1. Define Issue

Example 5 - Whether to cut back an important environmental compliance program

Step 2. Proposed Action

Example 5 - Abolish two compliance positions

Step 3. Ethics Check

Integrity

Shane's actions are selfless in accordance with expectations of a government employee but will have an adverse impact of friendships with his family members

Honesty

Shane will tell his family about the prospect of their friendship with Fred's and Kate's family being damaged

Fairness

when work impacts on family relationships it is seldom fair on the family

Openness

Shane will be candid about the possible impact of his decision at work on his family at home

Compassion

Shane may need to initiate counselling at home

Other value

Shane has not permitted his friendship with Fred and Kate to affect the decision

Integrity

Shane's actions are selfless in accordance with expectations of a government employee but will have an adverse impact on the families of his friends Fred and Kate - they may not understand why he has not cared for his friendship as well as they might expect

Honesty

Shane will tell Fred and Kate that he will help them if he is able to but may not be able to

Fairness

when targeted jobs are cut back there is little fairness involved

Openness

Shane must be prepared to explain his reasoning to the families of Fred and Kate about why they should suffer from his decision

Compassion

Shane may initiate counselling for his friend's families subject to their consent

Integrity

Fred and Kate have trust and faith in Shane that will be shattered by this proposal

Honesty

Shane will tell Fred and Kate about the proposal even though he knows they will not agree nor be happy with it

Fairness

Shane will give Fred and Kate an opportunity to find an alternative solution but does not expect success

Openness

Shane will have to carefully consider how to deal with the consequences of cutting the compliance program

Compassion

Shane sympathises with Fred and Kate, will express immense regret that this action must occur and will initiate assistance mechanisms for them to find new work or obtain counselling

Integrity

cutting the jobs of his friends could be seen as a selfless act but ultimately, other colleagues will be happy it is not their jobs being cut - they may nevertheless be wary of what might happen next

Honesty

will commit himself to full discussion with staff about the cut-back

Fairness

there is little fairness in targeted job reductions

Openness

Shane will not deviate from government instructions but will inform his manager of his proposal and the increased risk of arising from it

Integrity

the general public may not be concerned about the cut-back until some time in the future and only then if there is an environmental disaster

Honesty

Shane will advise his manager that the public should be informed about where the cut-back has occurred

Fairness

while individuals directly affected by the former compliance program will probably welcome the cut-back, in the longer term the general public may not

Openness

Shane will advise his manager how the increased risk of environmental damage in the future might now be mitigated

Accountability

Shane will document all stages of this decision process and accept responsibility for adverse outcomes from this decision - this may include possible environmental damage in the future

Democratic leadership

Shane will follow ethical principles and ensure fair process procedures are implemented wherever possible

Public interest

Measures to mitigate perceived increased risks of future environmental damage must be identified and implemented as part of this proposal

Step 4. Probity Check

Obey the law

All laws are complied with.

Comply with codes of conduct

The Code of Conduct has been complied with

Following rules

No breach of rules, policy or procedures

Step 5. Decision

Before implementing the proposal, discuss adverse outcomes with more senior officers and devise mechanisms to mitigate the potential increased risk of environmental disaster in the future

Step 6. Reality Check

This is not a win/win situation. Shane has acted as selflessly as possible and in accordance with his duty to the public he has put the public interest first

Government Issues Example 2 Scenario

Janelle has been a police officer for 6 years, loves her work and is considered by her peers to be good at it. She has a young son to her husband, Martin, who is also a police officer. Martin started using recreational drugs in small quantities abut 4 years ago while off-duty socialising with friends. Martin has gradually become more and more involved with local drug dealers. He has brought drugs home and on at least one occasion sold some to fund his increasing drug appetite. Janelle was recently promoted to a position in the anti-drug squad. This morning, Janelle was appointed to work with an internal affairs investigator, who will work with the drug squad to gather information about possible use by police officers. She knows that if she says anything about her husband that he may be charged and imprisoned. She is becoming increasingly aware that she has failed in her duty to deal with illegal drug activity.

Step 1. Define Issue

Janelle has an increasing conflict of interest between her domestic circumstances and her work duties

Step 2. Proposed Action

Consider resigning from work

Step 3. Ethics Check

Integrity

Janelle is reliable, sincere & trustworthy to her husband, Martin, but has permitted her own moral principles to slip by not successfully addressing Martin's increasing drug problem

Honesty

Janelle will be honest with Martin and explain that the resignation is due to an inability to reconcile her work duties & responsibilities with Martin's increasing drug usage - Janelle recognises that Martin may not yet be prepared to admit an addiction and that this could cause friction - dealing with that issue can be done as a separate decision making process

Fairness

Janelle is fair to Martin by explaining the reasons for proposing her resignation from the Police Force

Openness

Janelle is being open with Martin by explaining the irreconcilable conflict of interest should she remain a police officer - Janelle will raise the fact that Martin also has this conflict of interest and must resolve it (a separate decision making process)

Compassion

Janelle may have afforded too much compassion to Martin and this has worsened the predicament until it has become untenable

Other value

Loyalty - Janelle has been loyal to Martin but this is at the expense of her career

Integrity

Janelle needs to set a high standard of integrity for her young son to follow - Janelle needs to gain 'peace of mind' for herself by resolving her integrity shortfalls

Honesty

Janelle is honest with herself that the conflict of interest is irreconcilable and either her domestic situation must change or she must resign - the domestic situation does not look like changing soon enough to resolve the conflict in any other way

Fairness

- It may not be fair on Janelle's son for the family income to be reduced and Janelle may need to consider alternative work options (a separate decision process)

Openness

Janelle is aware that being open about the conflict outside her family could lead to dismissal from her police duties rather than a voluntary resignation

Compassion

Janelle wants to do the best she can for her husband and son - Janelle does not want the stigma of being a disgraced police officer to harm herself or her family

Other value

Janelle has dealt with emotional family aspects in the personal issues segment in as objective a manner as possible - Janelle recognises that she can no longer be objective in the workplace for every situation

Integrity

the community will lose their investment in a well trained, capable & experienced police officer - Janelle and Martin have breached public trust

Honesty

Janelle realises that community expectations are that police officers are honest and diligent in their duties

Fairness

the community may not fairly consider Janelle's previous good policing record once public trust is discovered to have been breached

Openness

the personal family consequences may be too great for Janelle to be open with the community about her failure to perform her police duties to the maximum

Compassion

Janelle recognises that the community will not show compassion to her should she remain in the police service and be discovered to have this irreconcilable conflict of intere

Integrity

Janelle's and Martin's integrity is tarnished by his involvement in illegal activity and Janelle's failure to resolve it - this will continue if resignation does not occur - Janelle and Martin have both breached the trust of their colleagues

Honesty

Janelle can confess about Martin's involvement in illegal activity but hasn't - a confession would place them both in the position of having to resign, being dismissed or possibly being charged with criminal offences

Fairness

Janelle and Martin should have an opportunity to explain and be afforded all normal rights under due process but penalties are often harsher for breaching public trust

Openness

Janelle and Martin have not been open about involvement in illegal activity that conflicts with their work obligations - if they were open then they would face severe repercussions

Compassion

Janelle recognises that other police officers will not show compassion should she remain in the police force and be found not to have properly performed her duties or seemingly condoned illegal drug activity

Other value

Loyalty - Janelle is loyal to Martin but while this may benefit their personal relationship, it does not benefit their employer - Janelle's loyalty to the police service is dented by her failure to fully perform her duties

Accountability

Resigning from her position at work makes Janelle accountable for the irreconcilable conflict however, recording reasons for the resignation and submitting to scrutiny over it may cause her some angst

Democratic leadership

Janelle is demonstrating ethcal conduct through her resignation

Public interest

The proposal is in the public interest since it prevents Janelle from being derelect in her duties should she be confronted with a more contentious conflict of interest relating to her work and the people her husband is dealing with

Step 4. Probity Check

Obey the law

The law has been breached making Janelle's work position untenable.

Comply with codes of conduct

The Police Code of Conduct has been breached as has public trust.

Following rules

Essential aspects of probity have not been met - no further assessment required

Step 5. Decision

Resign immediately from the Police force and advise Martin to resign as well

Step 6. Reality Check

The consequences of this decision can now be worked through as different issues and different proposals