In earlier blog posts, we have repeatedly told tales of grandiloquent young entrepreneurs and their downfall — Elizabeth Holmes at Theranos (“Elizabeth Holmes: Scamming Silicon Valley), Billy McFarland of Fyre Festival infamy (“Under Fyre”), and Ross Ulbricht, creator of Silk Road (“Silk Road: Paved by Grandiosity”). Reeves Wiedeman’s book the Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic […]
Ethics Unwrapped Blog
Implicit bias exists when people unconsciously hold attitudes toward others or associate stereotypes with them.
Psychological research provides guidance as to how leaders can create a workplace culture that encourages ethical behavior by employees.
The moral example set by leaders has a major impact on the behavior of their subordinates, both good and bad. Despite career success, leaders are particularly vulnerable to ethical lapses.
Moral action involves taking the necessary steps to transform the intent to do the right thing into reality. This includes moral ownership, moral efficacy, and moral courage.
Moral intent is the desire to act ethically when facing a decision and overcome the rationalization to not be ethical “this time.”
Moral decision making is the ability to produce a reasonable and defensible answer to an ethical question.
Moral awareness is the ability to detect and appreciate the ethical aspects of a decision that one must make.
Moral myopia is a distortion of moral vision that keeps ethical issues from coming clearly into focus.
Moral muteness is when we communicate in ways that obscure our moral beliefs and commitments, or don’t voice moral sentiments at all.
Moral imagination is our ability to think outside the box and envision ways to be both ethical and successful.
Behavioral Ethics investigates why people make the ethical (and unethical) decisions that they do in order to gain insights into how people can improve their ethical decision-making and behavior.
We hate losses about twice as much as we enjoy gains, meaning we are more likely to act unethically to avoid a loss than to secure a gain. This phenomenon is known as loss aversion.
Obedience to authority describes our tendency to please authority figures. We may place too much emphasis on that goal and, consciously or subconsciously, subordinate the goal of acting ethically.
Fundamental attribution error describes how, when judging others’ actions, we tend to give too much causal weight to their character and not enough to the circumstances in which they acted.
Tangible and abstract describes how we react more to vivid, immediate inputs than to ones removed in time and space, meaning we can pay insufficient attention to the adverse consequences our actions have on others.
Bounded ethicality explains how predictable organizational pressures and psychological processes cause us to engage in ethically questionable behavior that is inconsistent with our own values and preferences.
Conflict of interest arises when we have incentives that conflict with our professional duties and responsibilities in ways that cause harm to others and to society.
Conformity bias refers to our tendency to take cues for proper behavior in most contexts from the actions of others rather than exercise our own independent judgment.
Ethical fading occurs when we are so focused on other aspects of a decision that its ethical dimensions fade from view.
Framing describes how our responses to situations, including our ethical judgments, are impacted just by how those situations are posed or viewed.
Referred to as the slippery slope, incrementalism describes how we unconsciously lower our ethical standards over time through small changes in behavior.
When we do something good we get to thinking of ourselves as pretty good people, and can then give ourselves license to fail to live up to our own ethical standards. This phenomenon is known as moral equilibrium.
The self-serving bias causes us to see things in ways that support our best interests and our pre-existing points of view.
The overconfidence bias is our tendency to be more confident in our ability to act ethically than is objectively justified by our abilities and moral character.
Role morality is the tendency we have to use different moral standards for the different roles we play in society.