HEC Forum

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 287–297 | Cite as

The Pre-conditions for “Building Capacity” in an Ethics Program



Most organizations and/or their sub-units like ethics programs want to acquire the knowledge, skills and other resources needed to achieve their goals efficiently and effectively. Thus, they want to acquire or develop needed “capacity.” But there are pre-conditions to building capacity that are often overlooked or forgotten, but which nevertheless, must be in place before capacity can be developed. This essay identifies these pre-conditions and discusses why they are necessary before attempts are made to enhance the capacity of any ethics program. The essay closes by offering a series of questions that ethics program leaders/and or members can asked themselves to assess whether or not these pre-conditions exist.


Ethics programs Mental models Ethical climate Culture Relationships 



We are grateful to Sue McCoy, M.D. for her advice and comments as we prepared this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program in Ethics and Policy, Center for Biomedical EthicsUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Member Ethics Consultation Service, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford University Medical CenterStanfordUSA

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