Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2008

See No Evil: When We Overlook Other People's Unethical Behavior

by Francesca Gino, Don A. Moore and Max H. Bazerman

Abstract

It is common for people to be more critical of others' ethical choices than of their own. This chapter explores those remarkable circumstances in which people see no evil in others' unethical behavior. Specifically, we explore 1) the motivated tendency to overlook the unethical behavior of others when we recognize the unethical behavior would harm us, 2) the tendency to ignore unethical behavior unless it is clear, immediate, and direct, 3) the tendency to ignore unethical behavior when ethicality erodes slowly over time, and 4) the tendency to assess unethical behaviors only after the unethical behavior has resulted in a bad outcome, but not during the decision process.

Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Ethics; Moral Sensibility; Behavior; Motivation and Incentives;

Citation:

Gino, Francesca, Don A. Moore, and Max H. Bazerman. "See No Evil: When We Overlook Other People's Unethical Behavior." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 08-045, January 2008.