Why use it? Consistent evidence of supporting Mission Evidence of Participation and Respect for Persons Evidence that the Spirit has guided Checks & Balances Fosters habit of moral reasoning
When to use it? Formally Decision that affect significant interests and populations Opening Closing Services Significant HR issues Development of Strategic management tools Infomrally—all moral decisions
Phase I: Preparation Number of persons/groups impacted –Does it affect a department or the institution? Duration of the impact –Does the impact last a few years or the span of the ministry? Depth or weight of impact – Does the question affect the entire ministry or a portion of it? Closeness to Core Values –Does the question directly jeopardize a value? Degree of complexity Past commitments –Does the question positively or negatively affect past commitments? Relationship to strategic direction
Whose interests are affected? Based on the nature of the issue, what other individuals or groups need to be part of the process? What is the nature and frequency of the connection between the groups and the question? What departments will be affected? What departments might have insight? What other entities will be affected by the decision? Who would have insights to the Mission and tradition as it applies to this decision?
Phase II: Decision Making 1.Pray, reflect, identify question, and clarify authority of decision-making group. Prayer and reflection are necessary because the group believes that it is God’s spirit that is guiding and perfecting the many decision-making talents brought to the table. A spirit of prayerful reflection centers the group on the fact that they are continuing the healing, transforming ministry of Jesus. Identification of the question is essential because each decision maker will perceive and state the question differently. If the question is inaccurately identified at the outset of decision making, or not agreed upon, then the ensuing process will be counterproductive. The decision-making group should be clear about its scope of authority. Do they have the ultimate decision-making authority, or are they a consultative group that provides information to the ultimate decision maker(s)?
Phase II: Decision Making 2. Determine primary and secondary communities of concern and their interests. While there may be a large community of concern, not everyone in that community has the same interests. The decision-making group should assess the manner and degree to which a sub-community will be affected positively and/or negatively. The decision-making group should consider how those who are poor and vulnerable will be affected by the decision.
Phase II: Decision Making 3. Pinpoint and gather needed information and data. What essential data have been gathered already? What essential data have yet to be gathered? Once data are gathered, does the group agree on its relevance, accuracy, and completeness?
Phase II: Decision Making 4. Identify key moral commitments and values, as well as conflicts among them. Identify the question in terms of trade-offs between one or more values. For example, consider your decision in terms of human dignity and identify the dignity trade-offs in the various options that you are weighing. Identify the major consequences of this dignity trade-off in terms of individuals and groups; in terms of long- and short-term burdens and benefits; or in terms of money, morale and relationships, etc.
Phase II: Decision Making 5. Establish priorities among commitments and values. The moral commitments and values that deserve priority will flow from consideration of strategic goals/objectives, core values, historical commitments, the broader religious tradition, and special circumstances. List each priority and provide the rationale for why it is a priority.
Phase II: Decision Making 6. Develop options that support the priorities. Identify options that promote the moral commitments and values deserving priority. Examine carefully the major options and evaluate the positive and negative consequences of these options on the identified priorities. Consider not only the burdens and benefits of the preferred option but all of the options. Do any of the options preserve and protect a majority of the identified priorities?
Phase II: Decision Making 7. In silence reflect and then listen to viewpoints. To ensure that the Spirit has guided the discussion and to promote the voice of any reservations or opposition, a quiet time of reflection should be offered during which group members consider the discussion in light of the faith tradition and personal conviction. Consider the following reflective questions: –Have I listened to the facts and appreciated the viewpoints of others? –Have I opened myself to the workings of the Spirit? –Have I sought the good of the entire ministry and then the particular good of others? Has input been elicited from all decision makers?
Phase II: Decision Making 8. Gain consensus on decision. Invite all members to express which option should be pursued and why. Discussion should be held until every member has had an opportunity to voice an opinion. At the conclusion of the participatory decision making, estimate if a consensus exists, and if not, identify the points of disagreement and allow for additional conversation for clarification. If a consensus is reached, identify the values that will suffer because of the choice. Discuss how to mitigate the harms.
Phase III: Follow Through Assign accountabilities to specific persons for each component to be realized. Build a plan for monitoring and reporting with measurable outcomes. Build a communication plan for community of concern with key messages and methods. Build a plan that connects to the larger meaning and purpose.
Case Study Appoint a reporter for your table Read the case quietly Reach agreement on what should happen with one or two supporting reasons/ rationale
Feedback 1. What did you decide? Reasons / rationale? 2. How easy was it to agree as a group on a decision? 3. Were there 2 or 3 “camps” or ways of trying to decide this case? What were they?