Moral Governance – Part 3

Moral (Ethical) Concepts

Parts 1 and 2 of this series of posts on moral governance referred to various ethical concepts and defined certain terms with a focus on distinguishing between causes and symptoms of different degrees of moral distress.

With a view to offering a more extensive list of key ethical concepts and terms used in moral governance, this part is focused on two versions of the same chart – a summary version in the header and a more detailed list of definitions in the one below.

Links to further information appear below most of the terms listed, and to obtain a pdf with active links, you may wish to click here.

Background to the Moral Governance series

My interest in exploring governance aspects of moral distress was triggered by a mentoring session I held with a mentee in a large public hospital. She had been tasked with adjusting demand management measures for her department in the light of the hospital having reached capacity. Part of our session dealt with discussions brokered between her team and hospital ethicists about any moral distress that might have arisen from proposed changes.

It struck me that moral distress is a condition that is experienced in most organisations (even the Federal Parliament) at some stage or other, and that non-profits of all types are faced with the same issues of internal and external constraints, uncertainty, and conflicts as larger institutions. Very few, if any however, would be likely to have ready access to ethicists to facilitate decision-making that could prevent moral distress and other ethical concerns. The responsibility for governing and managing in an ethical manner is held personally by non-profit directors and managers, and it is up to them to ensure that their policies, systems and processes support ethical decisions and behaviour.

Parts 1-3 in this series were therefore offered as an aid to non-profit directors and managers wanting to ensure that they promote a moral (ethical) climate and culture. That includes ensuring that their climate does not cause moral distress amongst staff and volunteers as collateral damage from their efforts to address demanding performance and conformance targets.

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