When You’re at a Critical Ethical Crossroads…
We sometimes get into tough situations where we face a tough tradeoff with some ethical issues. While we need to decide and act ourselves, there is some great help out there.
The PMI has provided some help, in the form of a tool. You can download the "Ethical Decision Making Framework" - for free to members and non-members - at http://www.pmi.org/About-Us/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics.aspx . It may be a resource that gives you some peace of mind!
Now how often could you use such a framework? I hardly think it's something you would run for every time you ran into an ethical dilemma! The idea is to peruse it, think about the framework, and consider using it on a situation you might be facing right now. This will help you to internalize it. After that, it's yours! From time to time you may be up against something particularly tough and might want to refer back to the framework in detail, and even work through it with others on your team.
The big thing to remember is that ethical decisions are yours to make. By their very nature, they are not black and white. There is not clear single right or wrong answer - although there are answers that are clearly good, and others that are clearly bad! The framework simply can help you think about some key things to help you make your best decision possible with improved confidence.
Usually, when we face a dilemma, we can become to some extent "boxed in" by our own thinking. In a sense, we need some stimulation - something to knock us out of our box, to think creatively and more broadly. That's what something like the "Ethical Decision Making Framework" can do for you. By forcing yourself to answer certain questions, you will be drawn outside yourself.
While you want to avoid analysis paralysis, it can be helpful to at least quickly think about some things enough to feel comfortable. In the end, that's what you want - to be comfortable with your decisions, to be able to feel good about how you arrived at them, to be able to face others to explain them, and to be able to sleep at night!