See No Evil: When We Overlook Other People's Unethical Behavior

29 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2008 Last revised: 5 Aug 2009

Francesca Gino

Harvard Business School

Don A. Moore

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business

Max H. Bazerman

Harvard Business School - Negotiations, Organizations and Markets Unit

Date Written: January 2, 2008

Abstract

It is common for people to be more critical of others' ethical choices than of their own. This chapter explores those remarkable circumstances in which people see no evil in others' unethical behavior. Specifically, we explore 1) the motivated tendency to overlook the unethical behavior of others when we recognize the unethical behavior would harm us, 2) the tendency to ignore unethical behavior unless it is clear, immediate, and direct, 3) the tendency to ignore unethical behavior when ethicality erodes slowly over time, and 4) the tendency to assess unethical behaviors only after the unethical behavior has resulted in a bad outcome, but not during the decision process.

Suggested Citation

Gino, Francesca and Moore, Don A. and Bazerman, Max H., See No Evil: When We Overlook Other People's Unethical Behavior (January 2, 2008). Harvard Business School NOM Working Paper No. 08-045. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1079969 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1079969

Francesca Gino

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Don A. Moore

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Max H. Bazerman (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Negotiations, Organizations and Markets Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6429 (Phone)
617-496-4191 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.hbs.edu/mbazerman

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