Training in ethical judgment with a modified Potter Box



After a brief review of the ethical judgment research, the Potter Box, a four-step ethical judgment tool used primarily in media ethics, is introduced. The paper proposes that the Potter Box's usefulness for evaluating ethical dilemmas could be improved by re-sequencing the steps, by incorporating philosophical intuitionism as a mechanism for structuring its inherent pluralism and by adding a post-decision, pre-action reflective step. The resulting modified Potter Box has five steps – analyze the situation, identify stakeholders, specify duties, weigh obligations and check for universalizability – and should provide a useful structure for analyzing difficult ethical dilemmas and for creating transparency in the judgment process that accommodates improved discussion.