Article | Annual Review of Law and Social Science | December 2012

Behavioral Ethics: Toward a Deeper Understanding of Moral Judgment and Dishonesty

by Max Bazerman and Francesca Gino

Abstract

Early research and teaching on ethics focused on either a moral development perspective or philosophical approaches, and used a normative approach by focusing on the question of how people should act when resolving ethical dilemmas. In this paper, we briefly describe the traditional approach to ethics and then present a (biased) review on the behavioral approach to ethics. We define behavioral ethics as the study of systematic and predictable ways in which individuals make ethical decisions and judge the ethical decisions of others that are at odds with intuition and the benefits of the broader society. By focusing on a descriptive rather than a normative approach to ethics, behavioral ethics is better suited than traditional approaches to address the increasing demand from society for a deeper understanding of what causes even good people to cross ethical boundaries.

Keywords: ethical decision making; corruption; Unethical Behavior; behavioral decision research; Behavior; Ethics;

Citation:

Bazerman, Max, and Francesca Gino. "Behavioral Ethics: Toward a Deeper Understanding of Moral Judgment and Dishonesty." Annual Review of Law and Social Science 8 (December 2012): 85–104.