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Featured Collaborator of the Month: Linda Treviño

My research demonstrates why it is important for organizations to create structures and systems that support doing the right thing (because in the ethics realm, most normal people are susceptible to external influences). 

My work also demonstrates the importance of a variety of these structures and systems, both formal and informal ones. For example, performance management systems are crucial, and leaders at all levels have an extraordinary influence (both good and bad) on followers through their behaviors, the messages they send (subtle and not so subtle), and the cultures they create.  

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Featured Collaborator of the Month: Daylian Cain

I study judgment and decision making, or, as I like to say, “why good people do bad things, and why smart people do dumb things.” Much of my work is on conflicts of interest and how they are problems not only for the intentionally corrupt but also for well-meaning professionals who fall prey to unintentional bias.

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2014- Fighting Corruption: An Assessment

As 2015 begins, despite vigorous enforcement activity, corruption appears to be holding its own against efforts to contain and deter it.  In its 2013 year-end FCPA Update, the law firm Gibson Dunn reported:

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It’s time for policy makers to enter the 21st century

Can you imagine a world where marketers promoted products without knowledge of psychology and persuasion? Well, the equivalent is happening in policy making and international development- in fact it is the standard.

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(Un)Ethical Behavior in Organizations

Wouldn’t it be helpful if there was a review of some of the most influential, recent work on ethical behavior in organizations?  Well Ethical Systems collaborator Linda Trevino and colleagues have provided just that with their excellent review piece on “(Un)Ethical Behavior in Organizations.” 

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A Disruption Method for Bribes: Governments and Systems Interventions

large_bribes_0.jpgLike dancing the tango, a bribe requires two people for it to be successful. Current governmental policies reward whistle blowers and punish the party who offered the bribe- in other words, reactive punishments are commonplace. But what if governments instituted proactive policies that obviated unethical behavior and made bribes more trouble than they are worth?

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"Mind, Society and Behavior" and Ethical Systems Design

David Brooks recently published an insightful piece (In Praise of Small Miracles) about “Mind, Society and Behavior,” a recent report issued by The World Bank on how behavioral economics can be applied to global development and global health.

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Making capitalism more ethical: Dynamism with decency

When I tell people I teach business ethics, they often ask: “isn’t that an oxymoron?” Their response is not unwarranted. Much of my course is about the clever ways businesses have found to exploit their workers, sidestep regulations, and foist external costs onto others. Businesspeople are brilliant at finding opportunities and some of those opportunities are exploitative.

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Ethics Starts At The Top

Which matters more for creating an ethical organization: tone at the top, or tone in the middle?  The answer is that it depends on when, exactly, you are talking about. 

A recent study (Gächter, Renner, 2014) corroborates these findings by analyzing to what extent role modeling influences one’s own pro-social behavior. It turns out that a “leader’s initial behavior has long-lasting effects” on the organizational culture while over time “the impact of leaders on followers’ beliefs is diminished” (pp. 16). 

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Teaching Behavioral Ethics across Disciplines

Tigran W. Eldred, Associate Professor of Law, New England Law | Boston

Almost a decade ago, shortly before I started law teaching, I worked as an appellate lawyer representing clients who had been convicted of serious crimes. In one case, I recall having a very uncomfortable conversation with the lawyer who, I was convinced (and a court later agreed), had made a number of significant mistakes when he represented my client at trial. What struck me about the conversation then, and what remains with me now, was my strong sense that the lawyer was rationalizing his very poor performance despite his ethical duty to be candid with me about his work on the case. Was the lawyer being deceitful in covering up his many mistakes, or did he truly believe that his conduct had been reasonable even though, to an observer, it was so apparent that his performance had been deficient?

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