Team Spirit: Doing Bad Things in the Cause of Good

Daniel J.H. Greenwood

Hofstra University College of Law

EVIL, LAW AND THE STATE, John Parry, ed., 2005
U of Utah Legal Studies Paper No. 05-27

How is it that people doing bad things so often are able to justify their actions to themselves as good? In corporate law, an issue similarto that of religious or nationalist fanatics - if far less extreme - is quite common. How do corporate executives justify their actions when they sell a product without testing, or that pollutes, or squeeze their employees or their customers?

For our teams - broadly understood - we do many things we might not do for ourselves. Sacrifice, even heroism, selflessness, mutuality - one might go so far as to say love - are all characteristic of our relationships to our teams. But while those things sound like virtues, and indeed are virtues, they are virtues in a procedural sense only. They can be in the service of good or bad, depending on the goals and tools of the team. Self-sacrifice, team spirit, patriotism, martyrdom, heroism are marks both of great good and great evil. Love in the cause of hate is not so paradoxical as it might sound.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 11

Keywords: Corporate law, teams, good and evil, role morality

JEL Classification: D23, D73, K23, M14

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Date posted: September 9, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Greenwood, Daniel J.H., Team Spirit: Doing Bad Things in the Cause of Good. EVIL, LAW AND THE STATE, John Parry, ed., 2005; U of Utah Legal Studies Paper No. 05-27. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=774967

Contact Information

Daniel J.H. Greenwood (Contact Author)
Hofstra University College of Law ( email )
121 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
United States
516-463-7013 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://law.hofstra.edu/greenwood

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