Ethics Unwrapped Blog

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The Silk Road: Paved by Grandiosity

All of us are prone to overconfidence regarding all manner of skills and characteristics, including ethicality. (See our video:  When that overconfidence approaches grandiosity, danger lurks. We just read Nick Bilton’s engaging and moderately terrifying American Kingpin — the story of  “Silk Road” founder Ross Ulbricht, who’s website became the Amazon for drugs, guns, […]

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Stopping COVID-19: A Behavioral Ethics Guide

We act immorally when we do unjustified harm to objects of moral worth, such as other people. In the midst of a pandemic, when we ignore the best scientific guidance and refuse to wear masks, physically distance, or avoid crowds, we act immorally unless the view “I’m going to do what I want to do […]

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Do You Walk the Talk? The Impact of Moral Credentialing

Moral equilibrium is an interesting concept. The idea is that people tend to keep a running scoreboard in their heads that compares their image of themselves—usually as “good folks”—with their actions. If people do something that doesn’t live up to their normal moral standards, their mental scoreboard goes into deficit and they may actually look […]

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Jack Abramoff’s Fall from Disgrace

In 2005, Jack Abramoff was the most influential lobbyist in our nation’s capital. He then suffered a fall from grace and today, with an amazing trifecta, may have cemented his reputation as the most infamous lobbyist of all time. First, Abramoff’s corrupt actions as the most powerful lobbyist in America in the late 1990s and […]

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A Failure of Moral Imagination

Thousands of Americans have been shocked over the past few days as they watched a video of a white woman near Torrance, California as she targeted a racist rant at a young woman of Filipino ancestry: Get the f*** out of this world, get the f*** out of this state and go back to whatever […]

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Can COVID-19 Help Us Be More Ethical?

There is so much bad news caused by the pandemic these days—infections, deaths, depression (mental and economic)—that many of us find ourselves hunting for every little bit of good news.  In a recent blog post, attorney Jeffrey Kaplan found a silver lining in all our quarantining and social distancing by suggesting that working from home […]

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COVID-19’s Moral Harm

On April 27, 2020, we learned that Dr. Lorna Breen, head of the ER at a New York City hospital, committed suicide after fighting on the front lines in the coronavirus battle. Just two days earlier, John Mondello, a Bronx EMT, also took his own life after witnessing the human tragedies that seem ubiquitous on […]

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The Dangerous Moral Superiority of Physical Distancers

Many people spent Easter weekend worshiping in the Church of Anthony Fauci. These “Faucians” did not attend any actual services at physical places of worship, because their sacraments include self-quarantine and physical distancing rather than communion, wearing face masks and gloves rather than hijabs or yarmulkes, and baptizing delivered packages in disinfectant rather than new […]

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Moral Injury

As with so many of our blog posts, this one is prompted by a recent book, Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe. This highly-regarded book is about the troubles (and more) in Northern Ireland.  The detailed descriptions of the violent struggles and political battles between […]

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Astros: Sign-stealing Is Still Stealing

In 2017, the Houston Astros brought great pride to the State of Texas by winning the World Series.   It was especially satisfying, as a rags-to-riches tale.  In 2011, 2012, and 2013, the Astros were the worst team in baseball.  By 2015, however, the ‘Stros were in the Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs, and won it […]

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Naked and Ashamed

We ordered Krista K. Thomason’s book, Naked.  You can imagine our disappointment when it arrived and was not the coffee table book we’d envisioned. OK, that was the lame joke we were thinking about beginning this blog with until we realized that some people might take offense and we would be ashamed that we had […]

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Dueling Bible Classes

People often puzzle over the question of whether religious people act more ethically than not-so-religious people.  The scientific evidence is certainly mixed.  There is strong evidence that religious people self-report being more ethical than non-religious people, but less evidence that their actions actually match their reports (Xygalatas, 2017).  For example, some studies indicate that “religiosity […]

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Oil, Indians, and Obedience to Authority

Christopher Leonard’s new book Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America tells the story—the good, the bad, and the ugly—of one of the world’s most successful and most controversial companies.  Koch Industries, like all large companies, has both ethical bright spots and low lights on its resume.  Think of Johnson […]

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Debating Debate

In an October 12, 2019 New York Times op-ed, philosophy professor Jonathan Ellis and law student Francesca Hovagimian lodged a one-sided critique of competitive high school and college debate on grounds that it teaches students to make one-sided arguments, which, they assert, helps create our current, unproductive political discourse where the goal is to win […]

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Garden of Leaders

Not long ago, we blogged about a book on the philosophy of philanthropy edited by our friend, prominent philosopher and classicist Paul Woodruff: Paul has just published another book that caught our attention—The Garden of Leaders: Revolutionizing Higher Education (Oxford University Press 2019). The book emphasizes the importance of leadership and chastises modern universities […]

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New College Scam: Giving Up Custody for Cash

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse!  Recently we wrote about the Rick Singer college admissions scandal where parents bribed college coaches to pretend to give their children athletic scholarships so they could be admitted to colleges that, absent the artifice, they likely would not be admitted to.  [See “Admissions Scandal: When Entitlement […]

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Purdue Pharma and the Met, Opioids and Art

You would think that the matter of philanthropy would be relative free of controversy ethics-wise.  Giving to others is good.  Case closed.  But it turns out, as most of life does, to be more complicated than that. Ethics Unwrapped’s good friend, Prof. Paul Woodruff, a philosopher and classicist who has taught here at the University […]

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Lost Wallet, Found Honesty

The New York Times recently reported the results of a worldwide study of human honesty.  Across forty countries and six continents, researchers set up a “lost wallet” experiment.  To ensure the wallet didn’t truly get lost, an experimenter would go up to someone and hand over a wallet and say:  “Somebody must have lost it. […]

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None of the Above

A few years ago in this space we posted an entry entitled “The Atlanta School District Scandal.”  In it, we explored the reasons why well-meaning public school teachers might get caught up in cheating scandals, focusing on the then-unfolding indictments and arrests in Atlanta. This post revisits this scandal in light of the recent publication […]

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Tone(deaf) at the Top

PwC just studied the world’s top 2,500 corporations and reported that in 2018 a record percentage of CEOs left their positions, either voluntarily or having been forced out.  And for the first time in the 15-or-so years of this study, more left because of moral failures than any other reason.  In the past, poor financial […]

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Business Partnerships: For Donations or Profit?

Dr. Otis Brawley is one of the good guys.  He is a distinguished oncologist with all the professional awards and certificates that a physician could possibly want.  He has written more than 200 scientific articles and his brave and insightful book How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America led […]

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Under Fyre

One of the few truthful things that Billy McFarland says in either of two recent documentaries on his disastrous Fyre music festival—Fyre Fraud (Hulu) and Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (Netflix)—is something along the lines of: “If we hadn’t succeeded so big at the beginning, we wouldn’t have failed so spectacularly at the […]

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The Perfect (Mis)Match: Algorithms and Intentions

This post is prompted by a forthcoming article in the American Criminal Law Review by Melissa Hamilton, entitled “The Biased Algorithm: Evidence of DisparateImpact on Hispanics.”  Hamilton makes the point that because judges tend to be human beings and therefore subject to all the decision making foibles uncovered by behavioral psychology and related fields in […]

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Temple University: The New Enron?

As a university professor, I like to think that higher education can serve as a beacon of good behavior in a troubled world, but that’s optimistic.  I’ve recently blogged about a university staff employee who went on trips while pretending to be working (“Doing the Crime, Not the Time”), about unethical research practices (“Systematically Analyzing […]

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Houston Astros' Jose Altuve (27) connects for a single off a pitch from Texas Rangers' Nick Martinez in the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. The hit was Altuve's 200th of the season. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The MLB Scandal from Left Field

The World Series is just around the corner, so it seems an apt time to revisit, as Sports Illustrated just did, one of baseball’s most intriguing recent scandals. Here are the facts.  Chris Correa was a computer whiz who loved sports and worked in the scouting department of the St. Louis Cardinals.  Two of his […]

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State Farm’s Judge

State Farm just spent a quarter of a billion dollars to settle allegations that seem like a plot straight out of a John Grisham novel.  You may remember that in The Pelican Brief, a wealthy and very shady character with a case heading to the Supreme Court paid for the murder of two Supreme Court […]

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The Linebacker and the Congressman

It is not often that football players and Congressmen are indicted for the same wrongdoing, but last month NFL linebacker Mychal Kendricks and Representative Chris Collins from New York were both indicted for insider trading.  Kendricks has pled guilty; Collins denies the charges.  Both also face civil charges. The federal government alleges that Representative Collins […]

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Systematically Analyzing Three Identical Strangers

STOP READING! STOP RIGHT NOW! DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER! Unless you have already seen Tim Wardle’s new documentary “Three Identical Strangers.” In that event, you have my permission to read on. Otherwise, stop and go see the movie. This post contains spoilers and this movie should not be spoiled. Assuming that you have already […]

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God, Trump, My In-Group and Your Out-Group

I seldom have an original idea, but from time to time I read things that prompt me to write a blog post nonetheless.  Recently I read an article in The Washington Post that explored how the members of a Southern Baptist church in Luverne, Alabama reconciled their religious beliefs with the words and deeds of […]

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Elizabeth Holmes: Scamming Silicon Valley

In 1996, I published an article in the Ohio State Law Library on “vaporware” in Silicon Valley.  Vaporware is the marketing ploy of preannouncing products that do not yet exist and may never come into existence in their described form.  This was a common marketing practice in Silicon Valley at the time, but it carried […]

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Doing the Crime, Not the Time

Recently a fired employee at my university, UT-Austin, was arrested and charged with six counts of tampering with government records (his time sheets) as law enforcement officials investigated him for fraud.  It appears that Jason Shoumaker often claimed pay for hours worked in his job as a facilities director at the University of Texas School […]

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Sinking in the Swamp

There’s been a lot of talk about draining the swamp recently, but not a lot of swamp is getting drained.  According to our Ethics Defined video, “[c]orruption is the abuse of power or position for personal gain.”  In behavior that could not be swampier, Steve Cohen, the president’s “personal attorney,” has, according to Fox News […]

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The Cost of the Libor Lies

I just finished reading The Spider Network by David Enrich.  It’s the story of the Libor-rigging scandal, by some people’s lights the biggest financial fraud in history.  Just to remind you, Libor is the London Interbank Offered Rate. Libor was supposedly being set by many participant banks sending to a central authority their cost of […]

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Business Ethics Makes the Business

I recently finished reading Professor Francis J. Schweigert’s Business Ethics Education and the Pragmatic Pursuit of the Good (2016).  I commend this book to your attention. The book is an argument “that business schools should incorporate education for justice into their business and management curriculum as the pragmatic pursuit of the good.  This argument is […]

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Political Party Foul: Trump & Mueller Affiliates

The New York Times reported on Friday (1/26/18) that last June President Trump wanted to fire special counsel Robert Mueller but was thwarted when his attorney Don McGahn threatened to resign rather than carry out such an order.  Although the newspaper’s reporting on the so-called Russia investigation has generally been proved accurate, I do not […]

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Adding Meaning Equals Happiness

Recently I have used this space to report on new and interesting books I had read and I do so again.  Although most of my blog posts are behavioral ethics-themed, because that is my key interest and most of our Ethics Unwrapped videos are related to behavioral ethics, I am ranging farther afield today to […]

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Lessons from Wakey-Leaks

My wife often tells people that there is nothing that I enjoy more than watching men argue with other men about sports. Therefore, I greatly enjoy ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” (PTI) with Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. Both men are funny, passionate, and knowledgeable, though Kornheiser has the great misfortune of resembling me physically. On […]

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Let’s Stop the Self-Inflicted Moral Wounds

The front page of the New York Times (Austin edition) on Wednesday, October 11 was particularly depressing. The stories on California’s fires and Puerto Rico’s post-Maria suffering were brutal enough. Depending on your views regarding climate change, you may or may not believe that humans played a role in the severity of those events. But […]

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A Cautionary Tale

The commonly-held belief that ethical scandals are caused most frequently by “bad eggs” or “rogue actors” continues to take a beating as more and more literature supports the behavioral ethics research, featured in many of our Ethics Unwrapped videos.  This behavioral research shows that most ethical lapses feature good people doing bad things because they […]

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Why They Do It

I shared a list of books for budding behavioral ethicists a few weeks ago. Now I want to recommend to everyone that they read Harvard Law School professor Eugene Soltes’s new book: Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal (Public Affairs, 2016). Several years ago, Professor Soltes began studying many of […]

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Teaching with Ethics Unwrapped

For the Budding Behavioral Ethicist…

I am occasionally asked for additional resources (beyond our free videos, cases, and other materials) for those trying to learn about behavioral ethics.  Toward that end, I include below a list of 25 books that I think would be very helpful to anyone wishing to learn more about the topic of behavioral ethics.  The most […]

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Seeking Adam Smith

My friend and former colleague, Eli Cox, a distinguished professor of marketing at UT-Austin for more than 40 years, has made a wonderful contribution to business ethics education by writing Seeking Adam Smith: Finding the Shadow Curriculum of Business. His book diagnoses perhaps the major shortcoming in ethics education across business schools today and nicely […]

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Book Recommendation: “The Undoing Project”

Michael Lewis is the talented nonfiction author whose books “Moneyball,” “The Blind Side,” and “The Big Short” have been made into excellent and popular movies. His latest work, “The Undoing Project,” has an odd title, but is very much worth a read. It would take a creative genius to turn it into a movie, but […]

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Terrorism. Security. Facts.

“Educate yourself!”   That’s the tag line of our latest Ethics Unwrapped video – Propaganda: Ethics & the Media. In these divisive times, it is our responsibility as citizens to do so. American values are clashing and we all have a moral obligation as citizens of a democracy to protect our values and to ensure that […]

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The Swamp: To Drain or Not To Drain

I don’t always agree with President-elect Donald Trump, but I concurred when he tweeted, in the wake of House Republicans’ secretive January 2, 2017 vote to gut the Independent Ethics Office: “With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as […]

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Propaganda: Ethics & the Media

At an ethics conference in Virginia this year, Cara Biasucci and I met some of the people involved in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s exhibit, State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda, which focuses on propaganda in Germany before and during WWII. Anyone who visits this exhibit, currently on display at the Bullock Texas State […]

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Wells Fargo Goes Far to Cheat Customers

At the McCombs School of Business I teach an MBA course entitled “The Legal and Ethical Environment of Finance.” I fear that I may have to retitle it “The Illegal and Unethical Environment of Finance.” The finance sector seems to be a cesspool in so many ways, unfortunately.Yesterday I had no sooner finished reading a […]

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Kaepernick, Trump, and Clinton

Many people are rightly concerned with the polarization evident in our political discourse. Most supporters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would likely admit that their candidate is flawed, but cannot imagine why anyone would vote for the other candidate. People who are considering voting for the other candidate must be stupid or venal. Or […]

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Hey Ryan Lochte: Own It!

To be Olympic-caliber swimmers, no matter how great their natural talent, young men and women must hit the pool early in the morning day after day, week after week, and month after month for years, swimming miles and miles and miles in the process. The character that it takes to make these sacrifices and to […]

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Quid Pro Quo, Oh No! Abramoff on McDonnell

When corrupt people who want something from the government come together in common cause with corrupt government officials, the results are not pretty. Thus Virginia businessman Jonnie Williams, who wanted Virginia’s public universities to study a nutritional supplement that his company made, came together with Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife. Soon $170,000 in […]

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Baylor Football: A Brief Behavioral Autopsy

The darkest days in college athletics since the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal brought down the sainted Joe Paterno and permanently sullied Penn State University’s reputation are playing out in Waco at the nation’s largest Baptist university. The Baylor sexual assault scandal raises the question: How can values become so skewed when leadership is […]

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Our Cheating Culture

There has been a lot of news about cheating lately. It turns out that as long ago as 2006, a top technology executive (not a rogue underling) at Volkswagen made a Power point presentation detailing how to cheat on diesel emissions tests. Perhaps the company felt it needed to cheat to keep up with the […]

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Biases of a Supreme Court Justice

Justice Antonin Scalia will likely go down as one of the brightest minds, most forceful writers, and most colorful characters ever to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. In many ways, he was a “giant” of the Court, as many of his obituary writers are stressing. But Justice Scalia was also a poster child for […]

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The Good, the Bad, and the Future

In a recent op-ed piece, I decried the state of ethics in today’s business community. The Volkswagen emissions fraud, the Peanut Corporation of American contamination cover-up, and Turing Pharmaceuticals’ 5,000% price increase for a particular drug all happened virtually simultaneously and threw me into a bit of a funk. Every day on Wall Street, it […]

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No More Teachable Moments, Please!

As a business professor, I’m always looking for teachable moments, in which a very relevant, very vivid event can make an impression upon my students and point them in the right direction. But today I say: Enough already. No more teachable moments, please. Volkswagen, my students already know that it’s wrong to put software in […]

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Do Bad, Feel Good: The Peril of Rationalization

Dinesh D’Souza is a public intellectual with a strong conservative Christian bent. He is also a convicted criminal, an admitted adulterer, and a raging hypocrite. A recent interview printed in the New York Times Magazine on July 5, 2015 illustrates very clearly how, as behavioral ethics teaches, people can do very bad things yet continue […]

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A Better Game Plan for Student Athletes

The University of Texas at Austin announced the creation of a Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation this year. Part of the Center’s mission, as currently envisioned, is to teach high school athletics coaches how to deal with various behavioral and other off-field matters involving their student athletes. Helping coaches “develop their students as people,” […]

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Moral Lessons from an OU Frat House

The headlines from the SAE house at the University of Oklahoma and from the Department of Justice’s report on policing in Ferguson, MO., remind us that open racism continues to plague America and we must never stop fighting it. Just watching the movie “Selma” is not enough. It is heartening, of course, to see whites […]

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Deciding to Dope

Recently three things came across my desk nearly simultaneously. One was a report that Lance Armstrong had told a BBC interviewer: “If you take me back to 1995, when [doping] was completely and totally pervasive, I’d probably do it again. People don’t like to hear that.” (Rapp, 2015) Second, was a report that two MMA […]

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DeflateGate and the FAE

At this writing I do not know whether the New England Patriots are guilty or innocent of the charge that they cheated in the AFC Championship game by playing with improperly deflated footballs. Soon, I hope, the truth will come out. The Pats may be completely innocent. What I do know is that there is […]

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America is Awesome… Right?!

As Senator Ted Cruz recognized this week, “Every civilized nation agrees that torture is wrong.” I take it as a given that many of the actions spelled out in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s majority report constitute torture by any reasonable definition. Americans certainly would have defined them as such had they been done to Americans […]

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Ethics in the Field

Many of our Ethics Unwrapped videos present ideas produced by the new research field of behavioral ethics, which studies why people make the ethical (and unethical) decisions that they do. Much of the research comes from behavioral psychology and the “heuristics and biases” research stream created by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman and his late […]

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Rethinking Ethics Education

In a recent Business Week column, Deborrah Himsel of the Thunderbird School noted, accurately, that business schools are trying harder than ever to teach their students lessons in ethics. She was equally on target in pointing out that there is a lot of room left for improvement. She cited several recent FCPA violations by Wal-Mart, […]

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Abuse for All to See

The firestorm over domestic abuse ignited by the staggered public release of two videos of Ray Rice and his then-girlfriend and now wife Janay Palmer illustrates one important finding of the behavioral ethics research that underlies many of our Ethics Unwrapped educational videos:  many moral judgments are emotion-driven. It seems to most people that their […]

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Why Good Teachers Do Bad Things

Rachel Aviv’s article “Wrong Answer” in a recent New Yorker issue presents a textbook case of why good people do bad things.  The article tells the story of the recent cheating scandal in the Atlanta School District, which was one of the worst of a string of school cheating scandals across the U.S.  Forty-four of […]

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Say What?! Arational Persuasion

There is considerable evidence that how a question is framed can greatly affect how people answer it.  Framing effects can cause well-intentioned people to make unethical decisions, as you can see by watching our Concepts Unwrapped video Framing, or our Cases Unwrapped video Jack & Framing. A commonly cited example of how framing can affect […]

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Incentivizing the VA

Our Concepts Unwrapped video on Incentive Gaming, with content and narration provided by Professor Lamar Pierce of Washington University-St. Louis’s Olin School of Business, explains how many people will game incentive systems if given the opportunity.  School teachers will teach to the test if they are rewarded based on how many of their students pass […]

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Helping Your Employees Be Their Best Selves

There is no single correct way to teach business ethics.  A common approach combines philosophy and character development.  Teachers impart philosophical concepts for resolving difficult ethical issues and encourage students to develop and hone strength of character to give them the means to actually implement the solutions that develop. Any regular reader of this blog […]

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5 Tips for A Peaceful Holiday Season

Happy Ethical Holidays! In his recent book “Drunk Tank Pink,” marketing professor Adam Alter demonstrates how color affects many peoples’ decisions and actions in ways they do not realize or understand.  A famous study shows, for example, that men arrested for public intoxication tend to be much less combative if confined in rooms painted pink […]

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Tools for Teaching Ethics

On a day (October 15, 2013) when the New York Times is carrying articles on former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s guilty pleas to attacks on women, on an indictment of a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old girl on felony charges in connection with the bullying-caused suicide of another 12-year-old girl, and on possible accounting irregularities […]

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The Power of Empathy

Many of our Ethics Unwrapped videos carry messages arising from the field of Behavioral Ethics.  That same area of research has demonstrated the important role emotions play in constructing our moral beliefs and shaping our moral actions.  We tend to feel guilt when we violate moral rules and shame when others find out we have […]

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You’ve Been Rated

Zach Boven, author of this post, is a recent graduate of the Business Honors Program at the McCombs School of Business.  He wrote this blog post as part of an assignment for a business law and business ethics class.  It was the best of a good lot.   A female friend of mine at Washington […]

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My Group Versus Your Group

It seems obvious that people should judge the ethicality of others’ actions in an objective and fair way.  What is not so obvious is how difficult it often is to do that.  One reason why it is difficult to make such objective judgments is our tendency to sort ourselves and others into groups and to […]

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The Atlanta School District Scandal

I was recently asked to give an ethics talk to a group of high school principals in training.  For a time my mother was a public school teacher and a principal, and in my mind these people are to be greatly admired.  Although a recent survey found teachers to be a pretty happy and satisfied […]

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Jailing Unethical Executives

Financial journalist Bethany McLean has co-written two of the best books on recent financial scandals—The Smartest Guys in the Room about the Enron debacle and All the Devils Are Here about the subprime mess.  In her blog, McLean recently addressed the question: “Does Jailing Executives Make Much Difference?” Judging from public reaction, jailing white collar […]

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Ethics Education: Part II

In my last blog entry, I discussed Melissa Korn’s recent Wall Street Journal article entitled “Does an ‘A’ in Ethics Have Any Value?”  I argued that business schools should teach ethics because, first, schools should teach what they think is important.  Second, I argued that B-schools should train those students who do wish to act […]

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Ethics Education: Part I

The title of a recent Wall Street Journal article asked:  “Does an ‘A” in Ethics Have Any Value?”  The article discussed in modest detail several issues relevant to modern business ethics education:  Should ethics be taught?  Can ethics be taught?  If the answer to those questions is ‘yes,’ should it be taught through a stand-alone […]

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Is S&P the next Enron?

In a recent New York Times column, Floyd Norris noted in detail the obvious similarities between the downfall of Arthur Andersen during the Enron debacle and the recent troubles of Standard & Poor’s and other credit rating agencies (CRAs). Arthur Andersen was in an inherent conflict-of-interest situation.  Like all auditors, it was paid by its […]

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Revenge Porn Sites

In teaching ethics in a business school, I typically focus upon decision making errors that well-intentioned people make.  I do so because I believe that most of my students do have good intentions, as do most people in business.  They want to have careers that they can be proud of. But even people of good […]

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Ethics in Politics

The inability of Congress and the President to work together to avoid the “fiscal cliff” until well after their failure to do so had caused real damage to the American economy highlights a deeply troubling problem in the U.S. democratic system.  It is tempting to put all the blame on politicians for America’s bitter ideological […]

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Conscious Capitalism

Most of my blogs have addressed individual ethical decision making with particular attention paid to behavioral ethics.  This is natural, because Ethics Unwrapped’s initial videos have largely concerned these new concepts. However, the ethical decision making and actions of business entities are also very important.  In most business ethics courses, the topic of corporate social […]

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Back to the Movies—Les Miz

In my previous Ethics Unwrapped blog post, I noted that in Steven Spielberg’s movie “Lincoln,” President Lincoln is portrayed as have taken a utilitarian ends-justify-the-means approach to securing passage of the Thirteen Amendment in order to end slavery.  Rather than follow a deontological, rule-based “thou shalt not lie” approach, Lincoln is willing to tolerate lying […]

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Lincoln the Movie

There are two primary means of resolving ethical dilemmas.  The deontological approach is rules-based–don’t lie, don’t steal, keep your promises, etc.  Then there’s the teleological or utilitarian approach, which judges the morality of competing approaches by their consequences (“greatest good for the greatest number”). Both approaches are respectable.  They often lead to the same conclusion […]

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How Will You Choose?

When Lance Armstrong realized that nearly every winning cyclist in major cycling was doping and that he would have to start doping to beat them, he started doping. When Mark McGuire realized that scores of top home run hitters in the major leagues were doping and that he would have to dope to stay among […]

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David Petraeus’s Leadership Lessons

At this writing, several military figures are very much in the news in ways that they regret, including former CIA Director David Petraeus, General John Allen, Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, and General William Ward.  The first three are caught up in sex scandals; General Ward’s problem was being more than a little loose with taxpayer […]

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Welcome to our blog…

Welcome to the first blog post on the Ethics Unwrapped website. We at the McCombs School of Business hope the videos that we have posted and will post in the future on this website will be a valuable (and FREE!!!!!!!!) resource for all people wishing to teach ethics or to learn about ethics on their […]

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