Mendoza School of Business

Ethically Speaking

Published: May 20, 2011 / Author: Mendoza College


following is an excerpt from the
Enterprise Resilience Blog which discusses the book co-authored by Ann Tenbrunsel, the Rex and Alice A. Martin
Professor of Business Ethics & Co-director of the Institute for Ethical
Business Worldwide.
  To read the entire Blog visit: Ethically Speaking.

Even business people with sterling reputations like Warren Buffet can find
themselves unwittingly caught in ethical dilemmas [“Stumbling Into Bad
Behavior,” by Max H. Bazerman and Ann E. Tenbrunsel, The New York
, 20 April 2011]. Bazerman, a professor of business administration at
Harvard, and Tenbrunsel, a professor of management at the University of Notre
Dame, write:

“It’s easy to look at big names like Warren E. Buffett, and big
companies like Ernst and Young, and be judgmental. Of course they overlooked
ethical lapses. Why wouldn’t they? That’s business. Regulators, prosecutors and
journalists tend to focus on corruption caused by willful actions or ignorance.
But in our research, and in the work of other scholars who study the psychology
of behavioral ethics, we have found that much unethical conduct that goes on,
whether in social life or work life, happens because people are unconsciously
fooling themselves. They overlook transgressions — bending a rule to help a
colleague, overlooking information that might damage the reputation of a client
— because it is in their interest to do so.”


Topics: Mendoza