Ethical decision-making in the helping professions: a contextual caring approach

Robert Horner, Timothy B. Kelly

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    First, we examine several of the more prominent theoretical approaches in ethics (the utilitarian, absolute rule, principle based, and ethics of care approaches) and find the principle-based, common morality approach, and the ethics of care approach to be the two approaches that are most relevant to the types of ethical decisions practitioners characteristically are confronted with in a social work setting. We then propose combining these two approaches, taking into consideration the advantages and drawbacks of each, such that in application these two approaches can be seen to complement one another. We show in two brief hypothetical cases how the combined approach can be used to guide practitioners' ethical decision-making in real life situations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)71-88
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • Ethics
    • Ethical decision making
    • Utilitarianism
    • Absolute rule
    • Common morality approach
    • Ethics of care approach


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