Ethical Decision-Making Models the IDEA and Seven Approaches

Ethical decision-making is the process of selecting and considering alternatives following moral values. Choosing the best ethical option and removing immoral possibilities is essential while participating in ethical decisions. As for one to make the right ethical decision, the individual is required to do good doing regardless of how expensive it can be. Moreover, the individual should act consistently and apply moral principles to day-to-day activities.

Ethical decision-making models offer a framework for planning and critical thinking in the face of ethical problems. An ethical decision-making model can be described as a tool that healthcare workers can use to make moral decisions and think through ethical dilemmas (Roubanis, 2019). There are various forms of occurrences of the model, but this article will focus on two of them: the concept and the seven approach model. It will contrast the two models, establish their use and application and generate worksheets to solve the ethical problem identified.

The Concept Model

The IDEA’s goal is to help people make ethical decisions. The framework establishes a standard, step-by-step process that enables administration and clinicians to resolve the moral dilemma during healthcare delivery. Moreover, the framework is utilized in guiding actions and decision-making regarding ethical issues. The paradigm focuses on moral decisions: organizational and clinical findings. Righteous judgments that affect particular staff members or patients, such as a patient therapy being stopped, are clinical (Roubanis, 2019). On the other hand, organizational ethical decisions interfere with staff members or patients’ units, systems, or the organization as a whole. For instance, if a maternal program should be reduced or increased. Some ethical decisions will be primarily clinical, while others are primarily organizational.

There will be clinical and organizational implications to a lot of ethical decisions. The framework can assist an individual, a group, or a community in resolving a moral dilemma. Moreover, it can help a community or team by providing a shared systematic procedure, generating a shared vocally, and establishing knowledge peculiar to solve challenging issues. The organizational and clinical framework of ethical decisions contains four processes and five conditions identified as crucial. The acronym “IDEA” is formed by the initial letter of each stage in this structure. The framework is designed to be circular, implying that judgments must be reconsidered when new information becomes available. The four steps involved in the framework include; determining facts, taking action, looking at possibilities, and choosing the ethical principles that apply.

The five requirements include; empowerment: it entirely entails maximizing adequate participation opportunities; efforts should be established to minimize power imbalances in decision-making. Transparency: The framework, rationale, and decisions should be available and outline all procedures to the appropriate individuals who will use them. Relevance: The findings are based on reasons such as ideas, facts, and arguments that “fair-minded” individuals can agree are relevant in the circumstances. Revisions and Appeals: Decisions should be revisited and revised as new facts or opinions become available (Riggin & Lack, 2018. Compliance (Enforcement): The procedure should be regulated voluntarily or publicly to meet the last four elements.

Step-By-Step Instructions

A variety of guiding questions and concerns and a general question are offered for each phase in the framework. Some of the questions are more pertinent to clinical considerations, while others are more pertinent to organizational decisions. The conditions that must be met at each phase of the procedure are also mentioned. One can seek help from professionals, ethics facilitators, or bioethics to facilitate them by resolving conflict and the process.

Compile a List of Facts

Ethical concerns frequently occur due to insufficient proof or information, so identifying facts is the first step in a moral decision. This procedure may help resolve some issues while also laying the ground for successful strategies in others. The first act is to determine the ethical concern which has been identified. The indication for use includes determining the patient healthcare issues, such as the treatment for this particular patient. The second involves investigating the patient’s preferences and whether the patient’s decision is voluntary—the third concerns personal considerations such as how the clinicians feel about this issue.

Condition – throughout the process, empowerment measures to reduce power differentials and increase compelling opportunities for participation should be incorporated and implemented. The standards reflect the state of promotion and dependence on nature; they may include democratic voting procedures, sufficient time for preparation, and community engagement. Overarching Question: Before an individual proceed to the next phase should have determined the ethical question they are solving hence modifying it.

Establish the Ethical Values that Apply

The second phase involves an open conversation regarding the principles and dominant values of the relevant individual or organization. The step extent principles selected and examined nature and considered the relative weight assigned to each code. An agreement set of prioritized principles guides the decision-making processes. For instance, what are the significant values to stakeholders on this particular issue and most relevant regulations according to stakeholders? Condition – step two of the process satisfies criteria that state that judgment should be based on evidence or principles as essential in the current context. Overarching Question: At this point, one should identify if the person’s needs are resolved.

Investigate the Alternative

The third phase fosters creativity and thinking on a variety of potential alternatives. It would help if you tried to develop at least three solutions in any given situation. Each option’s advantages and disadvantages are examined. Options that are compliant with applicable laws and policies are highlighted. Opportunities must align with the organization’s goal, vision, and values (Roubanis, 2019). Each viable choice is evaluated using the agreed-upon decision-making principles defined in Step two. Condition – modifications, and Appeals: If one is not already in place, a system for revisions and appeals is established before a decision is implemented. The decision may be examined and altered in light of new or additional data. The condition of “revisions and appeals” necessitates these procedures. Overarching Question: One should identify the most ethically justifiable option at this stage.

Take Action

The fourth phase entails taking action that is the implementation of the IDEA. This phase disseminates and documents decisions and processes to the eligible parties. An implementation strategy is outlined, and a method for assessing the conclusion is established. Condition – observance (Enforcement) Finally, the decision-making act should be examined to confirm that all elements have been found adequately to satisfy the requirement of compliance. Although those immediately participating in the decision-making process can conduct this evaluation, validation by the organization or an individual that has been partially directly involved is preferred because it is less likely to be seen as biased.

Overarching issue- finally, it’s critical to ask yourself, “Are we (are I) comfortable with this decision?” It’s possible that the option reached isn’t the one that particular people or groups would prefer. On the other hand, those involved in the decision-making act should feel confident in the decision and the process that led to it (Roubanis, 2019). If those who participated in decision-making are unsure about the decision, more research into the reasons for their apprehension is required before it is implemented.

IDEA Ethical Decision-Making Model.
Figure-1: IDEA Ethical Decision-Making Model.

An Ethical Model With Seven Steps

The ethical decision-making framework was developed by Dr. Michael Davis of the Illinois Institute of Technology. It guided discussions around case studies and other ethics courses and workshop activities. The first step involved identifying the issue, such as establishing the case principal of point contention. The second step involves gathering and evaluating the case’s pertinent facts. It is critical to address the non-ethical questions brought in the topic (Holmes et al., 2020). For example, one may need to be aware of the decision’s legal limits, as well as any looming technological challenges or other concerns. Because it’s impossible to incorporate all details in a case study, you’ll often have to make assumptions based on what one knows.

The third step is the identification of parties involved. All stakeholders in the decision should be identified at this point. Considers and lists all potential individuals, groups, or entities (such as the environment) impacted by the findings. In the fourth step, one has to record at least five possibilities. At this phase, one has to be creative to avoid dilemmas. The fifth step involves testing options using the following methodology: addressing if the option causes less harm, evaluating professional ethics, colleagues’ response to how you respond to the issues, and if the individual will be able to defend their choice. The sixth step involves making a tentative choice based on actions, such as whether one managed to solve the identified issue. Lastly, one must make the final choice; this occurs when reviewing steps one to six and then determining what can improve us to have more support next time.

Seven Approach Ethical Decision-Making Model.
Figure-2: Seven Approach Ethical Decision-Making Model.

How the IDEA and Seven-Step Model Can be Used and Applied

The IDEA method can be used in health institutions in an organization or by clinicians. Healthcare institutions must make challenging decisions to offer high-quality care despite considerable cost restrictions (Riggin & Lack, 2018). Both technical and principle-based solutions are restricted in their capacity to address priority-setting issues. Given the possibility of opposing aims and values, achieving procedural fairness may be the most effective strategy to ensure that judgments are socially acceptable and that public accountability is demonstrated.

The first step involves identifying the facts like the ethical issues, such as examining the patient’s diagnosis, taking into account their religion or culture, and getting to understand their emotional feelings. The next step is to identify the values and principles of the regarded individual. At this phase, interact with the individual fully, creating a conducive environment. The third phase involves substituting ideas to solve the issues having different alternatives to solve this particular issue; the fourth phase consists in participating in the endorsement as you have fully initialized with the other three stages. This stage involves a clinician performing an inevitable surgery on the patient.

The seven-step method of ethical decision-making model can assist in one deciding on a professional path or what one can do with a job offer. At times developing a plan on the course of a career that one wants to follow can be intricate; hence this model is used to solve this concept Information collecting is a vital part of the model. The more information available, the easier it is to make decisions; it is advised. Many of the steps are specifically designed to accomplish this.

The seven steps that can be traced are, step one involves determining the decision, such as what establishes what an individual wants. Step two consists of understanding herself, like our limitations, talents, values, and strengths. The third step is to identify options and make a list of possibilities in consideration. The fourth phase is gathering information and statics of the knowledge of each option (Roubanis, 2019). The fifth step is to assess the problem by including the opportunities, benefits, risks, and drawbacks. The sixth step is to choose the best option, and lastly, one has to create a strategy and put it into action. At this phase, an individual should have discovered a career path they want to merge.

Ethics Worksheet for Case Study in Hospital

  1. What is the ethical issue involved? To be discussed in one sentence.
  2. What facts can be established in this case study affect the ethical decision?
  3. Are there internal or external issues that can be established in this case? The factors are to be described in one sentence.
  4. Who are the participants, and in which way are you obligated to them?
  5. What are the patient’s values or ideals?
  6. Do any of these principles differ from the usually accustomed values? What can you do to honor them?
  7. What are your options? The options are expected to favor both parties (list at least four)
  8. Identify the option that could harm the patient?
  9. Would be honoring the patients’ principles affect your options?
  10. Are there principles or rules that could be organizational and legal issues that may affect your options?
  11. Establish ethical theories that reject or support your actions.explain in details
  12. What is the course of action based on the analysis established?
  13. Defend your decision on the choice of your course of action.


In conclusion, participating in good decisions is morally right and practical. Ethical decisions maintain and build trust by reflecting justice, compassion, accountability, and respect. These behaviors set the stage for better decision-making by establishing ground rules for human conduct. Moreover, good decisions enable us to achieve our goals and accomplish what we desire. The ethics literature has various models, which are similar in design and substance.

The models are based on values or principles-based knowledge innovated by philosophers Childress and Beauchamp. Values, duties, and ethics are all considered in this framework. The models advocate utilizing resources in dentistry such as clinical data published evidence and consulting peers. Some of these models have four, five, or seven phases for resolving issues. Still, they all encourage critical deliberation through the structure of a decision model, whether in extensive clinical settings, private practice, or dental advocacy companies.


Holmes, T., Otocki, A., Zucker, K., & Unsworth, J. (2020). Ethical publishing of health advice online: Approaching ethical decision-making through the army-baylor 7-step model modified for organizational decision-making. Journal of Legal Medicine, 40(sup2), 39-40. Web.

Riggin, B., & Lack, C. (2018). Ethical decision-making models across mental health treatment: A review and expansion. Current Psychiatry Reviews, 14(3), 171-177. Web.

Roubanis, J. (2019). Ethical decision-making model. Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences, 111(2), 43-48. Web.

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