Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2014

Morality Rebooted: Exploring Simple Fixes to Our Moral Bugs

by Ting Zhang, Francesca Gino and Max H. Bazerman

Abstract

Ethics research developed partly in response to calls from organizations to understand and solve unethical behavior. Departing from prior work that has mainly focused on examining the antecedents and consequences of dishonesty, we examine two approaches to mitigating unethical behavior: (1) values-oriented approaches that broadly appeal to individuals' preferences to be more moral, and (2) structure-oriented approaches that redesign specific incentives, tasks, and decisions to reduce temptations to cheat in the environment. This paper explores how these approaches can change behavior. We argue that integrating both approaches while avoiding incompatible strategies can reduce the risk of adverse effects that arise from taking a single approach.

Keywords: corruption; dishonesty; Unethical Behavior; interventions; structure; values; Ethics;

Citation:

Zhang, Ting, Francesca Gino, and Max H. Bazerman. "Morality Rebooted: Exploring Simple Fixes to Our Moral Bugs." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 14-105, April 2014.