Organizational Ethics

Decision-making in and across health organizations

Organizational ethics is a growing field of inquiry into the ethics dimensions of decision-making in and across health organizations. This includes enabling people to use shared values to set goals and direct actions as well as to clarify and evaluate policies and practices. Work in organizational ethics includes:

  • developing ethics-related decision-making frameworks
  • assessing their use in practice
  • offering organizational consultations 
  • participating in the development and review of policies for health organizations and government

Areas of interest

Issues of particular research interest for Drs. Jeff Kirby, Marika Warren and Christy Simpson include:

  • analysis of the use and misuse of power in organizations
  • justice-based priority-setting in the allocation of scarce health resources
  • development of innovative ways to instantiate ethics in large health care organizations

Organizational ethics research also includes descriptions of approaches and methodologies for engaging participants in decision-making.

Related research

Related research by Dr. Simpson focuses on the implications of a rural context for:

  • the nature and types of ethics issues that arise
  •  the adequacy and applicability of standard (urban-developed) approaches for ethics support in rural settings

From an organizational ethics perspective, questions about the context of ethics issues and support need to be included as part of the consideration of what the “more right” thing is to do.


Selected publications

Kirby J, Simpson C. 2012. Deliberative Engagement: An inclusive methodology for exploring professionalization. HEC Forum 24(3): 187-201.

Kirby J, Simpson C. 2005. Innovative Ways to Instantiate Organizational Ethics
in Large Healthcare Organizations
. Organizational Ethics: Healthcare, Business,
and Policy
2,2: 117-23.

McDonald F, Simpson C, O’Brien F. 2008. Including Organizational Ethics in Policy Review Processes in Healthcare Institutions: A view from Canada. HEC Forum 20(2): 133-49.

Simpson C; McDonald F. 2011. “Any body is better than nobody”? Ethical questions around recruiting and/or retaining health professionals in rural areas. Rural and Remote Health 11: 1867 (Online).

Simpson C, Kirby J, Davies M. 2004. Building a Culture of Ethics: The Capital Health ethics support model. Healthcare Management Forum 17(3): 14-17.