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Why Good Teachers Do Bad Things

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

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

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

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

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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Money, Money, Money! It Changes Everything…

Money, Money, Money! It Changes Everything…

Money is not the root of all evil, but it changes us in ways that are not always good.  So, we should be careful about money if we wish to lead ethical lives. A number of recent studies have primed one group of subjects to think about money (by having them solve word puzzles that […]

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Tools for Teaching Ethics

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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Insider Trading, Genocide, and Why Good People Do Bad Things

Insider Trading, Genocide, and Why Good People Do Bad Things

The business section of the New York Times Sunday edition is often a depressing read, as it was on July 28, 2013 when page BU1 carried a story about Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors and its apparently endemic culture of insider trading.  In light of the many convictions and guilty pleas of SAC employees, the government’s allegation […]

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The Power of Empathy

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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Boy Scouts, Gay Rights, and the In-group/Out-group Phenomenon

Boy Scouts, Gay Rights, and the In-group/Out-group Phenomenon

In teaching ethics, I focus upon helping people live up to their own standards rather than trying to talk them into accepting mine.  None of our Ethics Unwrapped videos are aimed at foisting particular moral positions upon viewers.  However, I am going on the record here as applauding the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to […]

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