Article | Negotiation and Conflict Management Research | February 2011

Bounded Ethicality in Negotiations

by Max Bazerman


Routine and persistent acts of dishonesty prevail in everyday life, yet most people resist shining a critical moral light on their own behavior, thereby maintaining and oftentimes inflating images of themselves as moral individuals. We overview the psychology that accounts for behaviors inconsistent with ethical beliefs and describe how people reconcile their immoral actions with their ethical goals through the process of moral disengagement. We then examine how the mind selectively forgets information that might threaten this moral self-image. We close with an attempt to identify strategies to close the gap between the unethical people we are and the ethical people that we strive to be.

Keywords: Behavior; Values and Beliefs; Strategy; Goals and Objectives; Reputation; Negotiation; Moral Sensibility;


Bazerman, Max. "Bounded Ethicality in Negotiations." Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 4, no. 1 (February 2011): 8–11.