Ethics Unwrapped Blog

OxyContin: Whale Watching

Doctors who overprescribed OxyContin were nicknamed “whales” by Purdue Pharma. While doctors pushed pills, Purdue’s profits were pushed to new heights.

Continue Reading

United Airlines: Grounded

After passenger David Dao was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight, many questioned why airline policies and procedures would allow such a violent deplaning.

Continue Reading

Theranos’ Bad Blood

Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes promised to revolutionize blood testing technology, but behind all the hype was a massive fraud.

Continue Reading

Wells Fargo Fraud

Under pressure to meet steep sales goals and incentives, Wells Fargo employees created over a million fraudulent accounts in their customers’ names.

Continue Reading

Penn State Scandal

Following the conviction of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky for sexual abuse, debate continues on how much university officials and head coach Joe Paterno knew of the crimes.

Continue Reading

Tesco Cooks the Books

Amid declining sales, British supermarket chain Tesco overstated profits to maintain company value. The irregularities in accounting did not go unnoticed.

Continue Reading

Research Conflicts at UT Austin

University of Texas at Austin professor Chip Groat did not see a conflict of interest between his research on hydraulic fracturing and his payments from a Houston-based fracking company.

Continue Reading

Making the Grade

Lofty standardized testing goals and unequal resources lead teachers and administrators in the Atlanta Public Schools district to cheat.

Continue Reading

Final Exam Heist

University of Kentucky student Henry Lynch II crawled through the ducts of his professor’s office to steal the final exam, but later confessed to the crime.

Continue Reading

EpiPen: Out of Reach

Pharmaceutical company Mylan defends the drastic price increase of EpiPen, but patients who need the drug question Mylan’s reasons for the outrageous spike.

Continue Reading

Daraprim Price Hike

While many were outraged when the price of Daraprim rose from $13.50 per tablet to $750, Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Skreli saw himself as a Robin Hood.

Continue Reading

Countrywide’s Subprime Scandal

Countrywide Financial was one of the largest mortgage lenders in the United States, but CEO Angelo Mozilo did not heed his own warnings in the lead-up to the 2007 financial crisis.

Continue Reading

Academic Fraud at UNC

UNC Chapel Hill enrolled student athletes with poor academic performance in fake classes so they would remain eligible to play. The classes soon enabled widespread academic fraud.

Continue Reading

Compounding Illness

The New England Compounding Center, a compounding pharmacy, knowingly produced and shipped contaminated drugs, leading to a deadly outbreak of meningitis.

Continue Reading

Collapse at Rana Plaza

The deadly collapse of a garment factory building in Bangladesh stirs debate over worker safety in the effort to drive down prices for international manufacturers and consumers.

Continue Reading

Scandals Illustrated

Recent scandals, spanning a range of industries and professions, are summarized in 25+ short video prompts. Each video includes a case study, related concept, and ethical insights.

Continue Reading

Appropriation & Attribution

Attribution is giving credit where credit is due. Appropriation is the complex borrowing of ideas, images, symbols, sounds, and identity from others.

Continue Reading

Representation

Media representations of individuals or groups can hurt by reflecting stereotypes and mistaken beliefs or can help by being truthful and inclusive.

Continue Reading

Moral Myopia

Moral myopia is a distortion of moral vision that keeps ethical issues from coming clearly into focus.

Continue Reading

Moral Muteness

Moral muteness is when we communicate in ways that obscure our moral beliefs and commitments, or don’t voice moral sentiments at all.

Continue Reading

Moral Imagination

Moral imagination is our ability to think outside the box and envision ways to be both ethical and successful.

Continue Reading

In It To Win

The story of former super-lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff reveals the behavioral ethics biases that created his downfall. A documentary and six short videos. Filmed on campus.

Continue Reading

Giving Voice to Values

A series of short videos explore values-driven leadership, and present the seven principles that support it in life and work. Based on Giving Voice to Values by Mary C. Gentile, PhD.

Continue Reading

Concepts Unwrapped

Behavioral ethics concepts and basic ethics principles are illustrated in 30+ short videos. Professors explain concepts, while students share some of life’s examples.

 

Continue Reading

Loss Aversion

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.

Continue Reading

Tangible & Abstract

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.

Continue Reading

Bounded Ethicality

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.

Continue Reading

Conflict of Interest

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.

Continue Reading

Conformity Bias

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.

Continue Reading

Ethical Fading

Ethical fading occurs when we are so focused on other aspects of a decision that its ethical dimensions fade from view.

Continue Reading

Framing

Framing describes how our responses to situations, including our ethical judgments, are impacted just by how those situations are posed or viewed.

Continue Reading

Incentive Gaming

Incentive gaming, or “gaming the system,” refers to when we figure out ways to increase our rewards for performance without actually improving our performance. Written by Lamar Pierce.

Continue Reading

Incrementalism

Referred to as the “slippery slope,” incrementalism describes how we unconsciously lower our ethical standards over time through small changes in behavior.

Continue Reading

Moral Equilibrium

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.

Continue Reading

Self-serving Bias

The self-serving bias causes us to see things in ways that support our best interests and our pre-existing points of view.

Continue Reading

Overconfidence Bias

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.

Continue Reading

Role Morality

Role morality is the tendency we have to use different moral standards for the different “roles” we play in society.

Continue Reading

Fundamental Moral Unit

When making ethical decisions, the one consideration that a theory favors over all other considerations is called the Fundamental Moral Unit.

Continue Reading