Where unethical business decision-making arises from failures of ethical perception, there is an important role for ethical training and decision-making tools. These may help business people to consider all relevant issues when assessing the ethical status of potential decisions. Ethical training programmes give business people a basic understanding of the principles which underlie ethical judgements and equip them with many of the necessary skills for dealing with the ethical dilemmas which they face in their jobs. Similarly, ethical decision-making tools may guide managers through the various ethical considerations which are relevant to business decision-making and help them to develop their ethical-perceptual skills. Furthermore, by establishing and reinforcing good ethical decision-making practices, training programmes and decision-making tools may also reduce the incidence of self-consciously unethical decision-making.
A new approach to improving the ethical quality of business decision-making by the use of computerized business ethics expert systems is proposed. These systems have the potential to guide business people through a process of ethical evaluation while simultaneously fulfilling an educational role, thus providing many of the benefits of both training programmes and decision-making tools. While the prospect of a computer system which could simply make ethical judgements for business people is both unrealistic and undesirable, a system which leads human decision-makers through a structured assessment process has the potential for genuine benefits.
Keywords: Expert Systems, Ethical Decision Making