Mendoza School of Business

Book examines ethical decisions

Published: July 20, 2011 / Author: Scott Flegal

Are we as ethical as we think we are?

An important new book by Tufts University
professor and Harvard Program on Negotiation mainstay Max H. Bazerman and Notre
Dame professor Ann E. Tenbrunsel says probably not. In “Blind Spots – Why We
Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do About It,” Bazerman and Tenbrunsel make
a convincing case that a significant gap exists between how ethical we think we
are and how ethical we actually are. They label these gaps “ethical blind
spots,” and for better or worse, we all have a bunch of them.

The authors’ mission is to help us make more
ethical decisions by making us aware of our ethical blind spots so we can
better manage them. The authors’ aim is high. Ultimately, they hope the book
will “narrow the gap between the society we want to live in and the one in
which we find ourselves.” The book is loaded with real life examples of ethical
dilemmas familiar to most of us, some of which may ring bells with us
personally, and others we read about in the newspaper every day.

One ethical area near and dear to the hearts of
lawyers is conflict of interest, and conflict issues crop up repeatedly in the
book. Lawyers, of course, are charged with fairly strict ethical duties when it
comes to identifying and either disclosing or avoiding entirely conflicts of interest.
Trust me, some lawyers are better at it than others.

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Topics: Mendoza