I am a curious social scientist who studies people's behavior and decision making, and a professor at Harvard Business School.
My Approach to Ethical Systems:
My work on ethical decision making and the psychology of moral judgment illustrates how even small factors can turn us away from our moral self. When and why do ordinary people cross ethical boundaries? And how can they routinely engage in dishonest acts without feeling guilty about their behavior? Do people cross ethical boundaries only for their own benefit? My research addresses these questions in various contexts, using both laboratory and field data.
The basic premise of this line of work is that even good people regularly engage in behavior that violates their own ethical principles, either because they do not realize they are behaving dishonestly (e.g., Gino & Bazerman, 2009), because they can't resist the temptation to act unethically (e.g., Mead, Baumeister, Gino, Schweitzer, & Ariely, 2009; Gino, Schweitzer, Mead, & Ariely, 2011) or because they find effective ways to overlook or rationalize their choices (e.g., Shu, Gino, & Bazerman, 2011). Healthy work and social environments depend on the ability of leaders and employees alike to spread ethical norms and values, while reducing the attractiveness of unethical misconduct. Studying how managers and their organizations can best accomplish this goal is an important realm for my research in the years to come.
My Major Relevant Publications:
- Sidetracked: Why our decisions get derailed, and how we can stick to the plan (2013) (public library). This book is about how inconsistent decisions play out a wide range of circumstances, what we can do about it.
- Selection of articles in Harvard Business Review
- "Ethically adrift: How others pull our moral compass from true north, and how we can fix it," chapter in Research in Organizational Behavior (forthcoming).