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Decision Making Manual: A Toolkit for Making Moral Decisions William J. Frey (UPRM) José A. Cruz-Cruz (UPRM) Chuck Huff (St. Olaf)

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Presentation on theme: "Decision Making Manual: A Toolkit for Making Moral Decisions William J. Frey (UPRM) José A. Cruz-Cruz (UPRM) Chuck Huff (St. Olaf)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Decision Making Manual: A Toolkit for Making Moral Decisions William J. Frey (UPRM) José A. Cruz-Cruz (UPRM) Chuck Huff (St. Olaf)

2 Syllabus as Social Contract Consent (free and informed) Quid Pro Quo (mutually beneficial exchange) Safe Exit FIC (free and informed consent)—The right of a risk bearer to participate in the public decision as to the acceptability of that risk. Includes knowledge requirements and absence of compulsion.

3 Information Name Area of academic concentration Reason for taking course Best educational experience Reading and listening in English

4 There is an analogy between design problems and ethical problems Design ProblemEthical Problem Construct a prototype that optimizes (or satisfices) designated specifications Construct a solution that realizes ethical values (justice, responsibility, reasonableness, respect, and safety) Conflicts between specifications are resolved through integration of specifications Resolve conflicts between values (moral vs. moral or moral vs. non-moral) by integration Prototype must be implemented over background constraints Implement solution over resource, technical, and interest constraints

5 Decision-Making in Business Rational Choice Method: Textbook (Lawrence and Weber) Issue Management Process (32) – Identify Issue – Analyze Issue – Generate Options – Take Action – Evaluate Results Evaluating and ranking given results

6 Problem-solving in computing can be modeled on software design The software development cycle can be presented in terms of four stages: 1.Problem Specification 2.Solution Generation 3.Solution Testing 4.Solution Implementation Generate or create options that embody or realize ethical value or worth – We don’t find them, we make them

7 The Difference between choice and problem-solving? In choice, one chooses among existing options by applying different frameworks such as ethical frameworks (Text 86) – Virtues: An action is ethical when it aligns with good character – Utilitarian: An action is ethical when net benefits exceed net costs – Rights: An action is ethical when basic human rights are respected – Justice: An action is ethical when benefits and costs are fairly distributed

8 Problem Solving We do not find a solution but create one We do not evaluate existing choices in terms of standards Instead we use the standards to guide the imagination in brainstorming and designing solutions that respond concretely to the situation in question

9 Problem Solving Specifying the Problem

10 Prepare a Socio-Technical System (STS) table “an intellectual tool to help us recognize patterns in the way technology is used and produced” – Components: Hardware, Software, Physical Surroundings, Stakeholders (people, groups, & roles), Procedures, Laws (Criminal Law, Civil Law, Statutes & Regulations), Information Systems (collecting, storing, transferring) – Other Components: Financial Markets, Rate Structure (Power Systems), Environment, Technological Context, Supply Chain A STS is a system. The components are related and interact. STSs embody values – Moral: Justice, Respect, Responsibility, Trust, Integrity – Non-Moral: Financial, Efficiency, Sustainability STSs exhibit trajectories i.e., coordinated paths of change

11 1. Identify key components of the STS Part/Level of Analysis HardwareSoftwarePhysical Surround- ings Stakeholders (People, Groups, and Roles) ProceduresLawsInformation Collection and Storage Structures Individual Group Organization Institution

12 Identify parts that embody values HardwareSoftwarePhysical Surround- ings Stakeholders (People, Groups, and Roles) ProceduresLawsInformation Collection and Storage Structures Justice Responsibility Respect Trust Integrity Financial Environment Integrity

13 Classify the problem: Disagreement on Facts – Did the supervisor sexually harass the employee? (What happened—there are two different versions) Disagreement on Concepts – Has the supervisor created a hostile environment? (Meaning of hostile environment?) Conflicts – Conflict between moral values (Toysmart either honors property claims of creditors or privacy rights of customers) – Conflicts between moral and non-moral values (In order to get the chips to clients on time, LaRue has told the quality control team to skip environmental tests and falsify results) A key value becomes vulnerable – Online activity has magnified the potential harms of cyberslander against companies like Biomatrix Immediate, Midterm, or Remote Harms – Is it the case that Therac-25 patients are receiving radiation overdoses?

14 Table summarizing problem classification (With Generic Solutions) Problem / Solution Strategy DisagreementValue ConflictSituational Constraints FactualConceptualIntegrate?Tradeoff?Resource? Technical? Interest?

15 Problem Solving Solution Generation

16 Don’t fall into the dilemma trap – Assumption that all ethical problems in business offer only two solution forms: do the right thing financially or do the right thing ethically Brainstorm – Do exercises to unlock creative thought – Start with an individual list – Share your list with others while suspending criticism – Once you have a preliminary list (set a quota) refine it Eliminate solutions that are impractical Combine solutions (one is part of another; one is plan A, the other plan B) Test solutions globally and quickly to trim them down to a manageable list

17 Use more than one frame when generating solutions How would an engineer specify the problem? How would a lawyer specify the problem? How would a manager characterize the problem? How would a politician specify the problem? How would a financial expert or economist specify the problem? Try to integrate these different framings.

18 Refined Solution List Alternatives / Criteria Responsiveness to Problem Global Ethical TestGlobal Feasibility Alternative 1 Alternative 2 Alternative 3

19 Generic Solutions (For every occasion) Gather more information Nolo Contendere Be diplomatic. Negotiate with the different parties. Look for a “win-win” solution Oppose. Stand up to authority. Organize opposition. Document and publicize the wrong Exit (Get a transfer. Look for another job. Live to fight another time) Organize these as plans A, B, C, etc. (Try one, then the other if the first doesn’t work.)

20 Solution Testing Reversibility, Harm/Benefits, Publicity

21 Test Solutions Develop a solution evaluation matrix Test the ethical implications of each solution See if the solution violates the code Carry out a global feasibility assessment of the solution. – What are the situational constraints? – Will these constraints block implementation?

22 Solution Evaluation Matrix Alternative / TestReversibilityHarm / BenefitsPublicity (Values Test) Code (Corporate or Professional Code of Ethics) Will it Work? (Feasibility) Alternative 1 Alternative 2 Alternative 3

23 Reversibility Does the action still look good when viewed from the standpoint of key stakeholders? Agent projects into standpoint of those targeted by the action and views it through their eyes Avoid extremes of too little and too much identification with stakeholder (go beyond your egocentric standpoint but don’t become lost in the perspective of the other)

24 Harm / Benefits What are the likely harms and benefits that will follow from the action under consideration? What is their magnitude and range? How are they distributed? Which alternative produces the most benefits coupled with the least harms? Avoid too much (trying to factor in all consequences) and too little (leaving out significant consequences)

25 Publicity Test What are the values embedded in the action you are considering? – Is it responsible or irresponsible? Just or unfair? Respectful or disrespectful? Would you want to be publically associated with this action given the values it embodies? – People would view you as responsible, just, or respectful; irresponsible, unjust (biased?), disrespectful

26 Code of Ethics Test How does the action accord with your profession’s or company’s code of ethics? How does the action accord with the key values professed by your company or profession?

27 Solution Implementation Will it work given the background constraints?

28 A Feasibility Test—Will it Work? Restate your global feasibility analysis Are there resource constraints? – Are these fixed or negotiable? Are there technical or manufacturing constraints? – Are these fixed or negotiable? Are there interest constraints? – Are these fixed or negotiable?

29 Feasibility Matrix Alternative/ Constraint ResourceInterestTechnical TimeCostIndividualOrganizationalLegalAvailable Technology Manufacturability Alternative 1 Alternative 2 Alternative 3

30 What if there are major constraints? Try out what Westin calls the “intermediate impossible” (Practical Companion, 38) – Take your ethically, financially, technically ideal solution – Test its feasibility. If it is lacking… – Modify it as little as possible until it becomes feasible. Then implement the “intermediate impossible.”

31 Final Considerations Has your problem shifted? – Check over your refined solution list and your final solution. Sometimes the process moves from one problem to another. If so, re-specify your problem given what you have learned. Have you opened all possible doors to solving your problem? – Multiple framings. Resisting dilemma trap

32 Some Readings Anthony Weston. (2002). A Practical Companion to Ethics: Second Edition. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. – Weston has several excellent suggestions for brainstorming solutions to ethical problems. He also discusses how to avoid the dilemma trap. Good Computing. (Book under development through Jones and Bartlett) (Huff, Frey, Cruz) – The manuscript describes the four-stage software development cycle that is used as a model here for problem-solving. Carolyn Whitbeck. (1998). Ethics in engineering practice and research. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. – Whitbeck provides an illuminating discussion of the analogy between ethics and design problems.

33 Flow Charts Problem Specification Disagreements Between People Factual Disagreements Conceptual Disagreements Value Conflicts Moral Vs. Non-Moral Moral vs. Moral

34 Flow Charts Solution Generation Disagreements Factual: Gather Information Conceptual: Define Concept Value Conflicts Value Integration Compromise: Partially realize values Rank and Trade Off Values

35 Flow Charts Generic Solutions Gather Information Nolo Contendere Change through Negotiation or Persuasion Change Through Opposition or Coercion Exit (Transfer Resign)

36 Flow Charts Solution Implementation Resource Constraints Time Money Available materials And supplies Interest Constraints Individual Organizational Social/Political Laws, Contracts, Statutes, Regulations Technical Constraints Limits in Technology Problems with Manufacturing

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