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Cooper’s Ethical Decision-Making Model Essay


Cooper presents an approach that follows a definite procedure in making ethical decisions (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005).The first step in this approach is ascertaining and giving a description to the facts of a situation including the main participants, their perceptions, the issues and the threats pose by the situation.

The second step which is the most difficult one involves defining the issue. This step is described as the most difficult because the administrators face a problem in identifying the values and principles at risk. The third step in Coopers approach is looking for an alternative once the ethical issues have been ascertained and described.

Cooper advises that caution is important in this step because ethical issues have many alternatives. The fourth step in coopers approach involves doing a projection of the possible impacts of the alternatives. Although this step is part of an informal decision making process, Cooper advises that it should be conducted consciously and systematically (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005).

Possible Ethical Dilemma

Administrators are faced by many ethical dilemmas in the course of their duties. An ethical dilemma does not involve choosing between a wrong and a right. It involves choosing between two things which are both right.

Ethical dilemmas become evident when there is a conflict between two values which are important to the administrator. I aspire to be a school administrator and I anticipate ethical dilemmas in this position. One of the ethical dilemmas I anticipate in this role is making a decision on what to do when teachers want to implement a policy that lowers the performance of students.

I value both good performance and a good relationship with the teachers. In this case, it is important not to hurt the spirit of the teachers by turning down their policy. At the same time, it is also important to ensure that a policy that leads to poor performance is not implemented. These are two conflicting but important values hence they constitute an ethical dilemma (Santa Clara University, 2010)

Solving the Ethical Dilemma using Own Skills

As an administrator, I need to handle this dilemma skillfully using my own decision making skills. It is helpful to first analyze the issues at hand before embarking on decision making processes (LMU, 2009).The first thing I will do is to hold a meeting with the teachers to discuss the policy they want to implement.

I will allow all the teachers to give their perspectives on the policy and how they think it will benefit the students. As the teachers give their views, it is my duty as an administrator to take note of all the perspectives the teachers are giving. After they have given their perspectives, I will present to them the possible negative implications on the performance of students of the policy.

I will inform the teachers that the policy might have negative implications on the performance of the students. To avoid being unfair to the teachers, I will invite them to give alternative methods other than the stated policy. This will make the teachers feel part of the administration. Eventually, this will prevent them from implementing a policy that will affect the performance of the students

Application of Cooper’s Model

Using Cooper’s ethical decision making model, the first thing I will do is to ascertain that there is a policy that the teachers want to implement. I will also gather factual information about the policy so that when I start talking about the policy, I do it from an informed perspective.

After identifying facts about the policy, I will analyze what values and principles are jeopardized by the policy. One of the values I respect is good performance and as stated earlier, this policy is likely to interfere with good performance. This step will be followed by looking for alternatives which I will discuss with the teachers.

The alternatives will ensure that the policy threatening to interfere with performance is not implemented. The alternatives available might also pose their risks and according to Cooper’s model, the final step will be to project possible threats of the alternatives. This will be done by examining the available alternatives and conducting a detailed analysis.


Geuras, D., & Garofalo, C. (2005). Practical Ethics in Public Administration. Virginia: Management Concepts.

LMU. (2009). Resolving an Ethical Dilemma. Web.

Santa Clara University. (2010). Ethical Decision Making. Available from .

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