Ethical Decision Making : social metaphors towards ethical action

Kieran Vivian-Byrne, Jenny Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The idea that ethical practice lays within the individual has tended to hold
predominance in the fields of social, education, and health care (Hugman, 2005;
Kinsella, 2005; Shaw, 2011). A more contextual-based understanding of ethical
decision making is presented. Central to understanding how practitioners might
begin to approach their practice ethically is the idea that decision making is
a social meaning-making activity, and takes place within context. We propose
that in constructing ethics with others through a heightened recognition of
contextual complexity, we have the potential to develop ethically aware practice
that begins to address the inevitable uncertainties in complex situations.
Four interrelated metaphors, Map, Moment, Meta, and Mind, which emerge
from systemic principles and can be represented as poles of two spectra, are
presented. These are considered as part of a practice model and a useful way
of relating to the process of ethical decision-making
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalJournal of Systemic Therapies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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