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Ethics Beneath the Surface
Harris, Jared D.; Hernandez, Morela; Guarana, Cristiano Technical Note E-0409 / Published December 18, 2015 / 10 pages.
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Whereas there is much focus on improving the cognitive aspects of ethical decision making, many of the drivers of managerial action are nondeliberative. The explosion of academic work in behavioral science has highlighted a number of decision traps, blind spots, and behavioral biases that can substantially influence ethical decision making and action. This note focuses on a number of specific behavioral influences and how they relate to ethics. In addition to highlighting how these behavioral influences can impair decision making, we discuss ways they can be harnessed to potentially improve ethical decisions and actions.


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  • Overview

    Whereas there is much focus on improving the cognitive aspects of ethical decision making, many of the drivers of managerial action are nondeliberative. The explosion of academic work in behavioral science has highlighted a number of decision traps, blind spots, and behavioral biases that can substantially influence ethical decision making and action. This note focuses on a number of specific behavioral influences and how they relate to ethics. In addition to highlighting how these behavioral influences can impair decision making, we discuss ways they can be harnessed to potentially improve ethical decisions and actions.

  • Learning Objectives