The Theology of Values in Policy Making

Donald K. Gates
Macquarie University, Australia

Peter Steane
Southern Cross University, Australia

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Publicerad: 2008-02-15


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


Perhaps one of the earliest tasks of any new executive or policymaker is to establish decision-making strategies. Payne et al (1993) have outlined a repertoire of strategies for policymakers to employ. Each strategy processes advantages and disadvantages related to different decision tasks. Individual policymakers select from these strategies by trading off their relative advantages and disadvantages. They consider the use of multi decision strategies to be “an adaptive response of a limited-capacity information processor to the demands of complex decision tasks” (Payne et al.; 1993; p. 1).

This paper considers many of the rational activities that control decision-making to involve decisions requiring a choice between altruism and egoism as well as those involving issues of social justice. There are four distinct ambiguities that are faced in these decisions. Our argument is that many policy decisions deal with the first two ambiguities; but do not deal with ambiguities than pertain to leadership and inequality. These cause a tension between values. Aquinas categorized the tension between values as being social and egalitarian (Aquinas; 1955/1929). Likewise; twenty-first century executives are faced with the dilemma of reconciling Christian values with policy decisions of an economic rationalistic nature.


Altruism; ambiguities of justice; economic rationalism; policymaking; theology; value systems


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