We describe the results of a qualitative research study involving senior military and civilian leaders of the Department of Defense. We followed a grounded theory approach in proposing an inductive model which integrates the theories of ethics, decision making, and leadership with the experiences and formal training of our respondents. Our model accomplishes two purposes. First, it illustrates the complex nature of the intervening steps between moral awareness and ethical/unethical decision outcomes. Second, it depicts a process for developing ethical decision making expertise. The proposed model is intended to stimulate educators, training and development professionals, and practicing leaders to design and implement programs to develop ethical leader decision making.
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