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Shawn’s Lecture on Ethics. I am a liar. Why we are unethical?. Cognitive Dissonance Assumptions Behind Unethical Decisions: Assumption #1--It’s a shortcut to success Assumption #2—Advantages outweigh disadvantages. The Perceived Advantages. speed profit path of least resistance

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Why we are unethical
Why we are unethical?

  • Cognitive Dissonance

    Assumptions Behind Unethical Decisions:

  • Assumption #1--It’s a shortcut to success

  • Assumption #2—Advantages outweigh disadvantages


The perceived advantages
The Perceived Advantages

  • speed

  • profit

  • path of least resistance

  • equity since others cheat (prisoner’s dilemma)

  • no disadvantages if not caught



A structured response
A structured response

  • What does it mean to be ethical?

  • Why does being ethical matter?

  • How do we become more ethical?


Shawn s probability measures
Shawn’s Probability Measures

  • Chance of winning the Powerball Lotto

    • 1 in 36,000,000

  • Chance of correctly predicting the entire NCAA basketball brackets?

    • 1 in 36, 000, 000, 000

  • Chance of doing something unethical without suffering a cost?

    • Priceless.

    • 0 in 36,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000


Transcendental intuitive ethics
Transcendental, Intuitive ethics

  • An intuitive moral compass

  • Greatest leadership trait is trustworthiness (Den Hartog)

  • Best leaders are “servants” who subjugate their own needs (Collins)

  • Priests score higher than CEOs on Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Druskat)



Cognitive dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance

  • Cognitive dissonance

    • “Divided Soul of Corporate America” (Mitroff and Denton)

    • Majority feel cognitive dissonance (Renesch)

  • Dissonance decreases morale, productivity and successful completion of tasks



The psychological toll of being unethical1
The Psychological Toll of Being Unethical

  • Being Unethical Increases Autonomic Nervous System Stress

    • Lie detection as proof

    • Small rationalized decisions still create stress




The psychological toll of being unethical2
The Psychological Toll of Being Unethical

  • Sympathetic system is catabolic

  • Stress decreases health

  • Becomes a pattern– Sympathetic Response Dominance


Negative effects of the soprano effect
Negative Effects of the Soprano Effect

  • Fatigue

  • Blood clotting

  • High cholesterol

  • Heart Disease

  • Stroke

  • Chronically tensed muscles

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Insomnia

  • Obesity

  • Increased sensitivity to pain




Debating with the unethical choice
Debating with the unethical choice

  • Rationales—

    • It’s a quick way to get ahead…

    • You make more money…

    • I’m just one person…

    • The little stuff doesn’t matter…

    • It’s just one time…

  • All of these are wrong.


It s a quick way to get ahead
It’s a quick way to get ahead…

  • No, it decreases the chance of success

  • The costs to the organization

    • Undercut productivity and morale

      • Little’s research on personal projects

  • Good ethics, like self-concordant goals

    • Higher success because of elevated mood, endurance and drive


But you make money
But you make money…

  • No, you lose money. A lot of money.

    • Increased turnover and training costs (Mayfield)

      • 7 times more loyal if ethical

      • High levels of loyalty = increase 11% productivity

      • Low integrity = 34% more turnover


Hey i m just one person
Hey, I’m just one person

  • Yes, but you’re the most important person

  • Leaders have the biggest impact (Morgan)

    • Leaders influence ethics more than peers


It s small so it doesn t matter
It’s small so it doesn’t matter…

  • Nope, just the opposite.

  • The little stuff matters more than the big stuff

    • Broken Window theory (Gladwell)

    • Tipping point: the epidemiology of poor ethics


It s just one time
It’s just one time…

  • Wrong again.

  • Single and small unethical decisions have global implications

    • Friendly Fire—Practical Drift (Snook)


How to change our lyin ways
How to Change Our Lyin’ Ways

  • Ethics are created only through habit and socialization

  • Creation of intervening mechanisms

  • Want to Know


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