Ethical matrix

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The ethical matrix provides a structured process for identifying, weighing and integrating different, and potentially conflicting, values among the various stakeholders concerned with an issue or problem. The matrix has three principles – well-being, autonomy and justice – on the horizontal axis, with the various stakeholders affected by the problem and decision-making listed on the vertical axis. The task then is to identify and document the ethical impacts of the matter under consideration in each cell of the matrix.

Once the cells have been filled in, the relative importance of the issues identified needs to be weighed to assist in making a decision taking the different values into account, although the process for achieving this is not well articulated.

The ethical matrix can be used as a dialogue method or a desktop tool or a combination of the two.

Reference: Ben Mepham, cited in McDonald, D., Bammer, G. and Deane, P. (2009). Research Integration Using Dialogue Methods. ANU Press: Canberra, Australia. Online:

Posted: January 2016
Last modified: March 2016