The Ethics of Intracorporate Behavioral Ethics

18 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2017

See all articles by Todd Haugh

Todd Haugh

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business

Date Written: June 7, 2017


This Essay provides the first analysis of “behavioral ethics nudging,” the use of choice architecture by companies to influence the ethical decision making of their employees. This practice represents the cutting edge of corporate compliance because it seemingly offers an evidence-based, cost-effective way for companies to reduce the risk of respondeat superior liability. Yet the promise of behavioral ethics nudging masks a certain unease, because this type of behavioral compliance tool necessarily harnesses the dual thinking system of employees, often without their knowledge. Drawing on extensive behavioral science research, the Essay evaluates behavioral ethics nudging from an empirical and normative lens, calling both the efficacy and ethicality of the practice into question. The Essay concludes by providing a simple evaluative framework for companies intent on using behavioral ethics nudging as a compliance strategy.

Keywords: corporate compliance, behavioral ethics, nudge

JEL Classification: K2, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Haugh, Todd, The Ethics of Intracorporate Behavioral Ethics (June 7, 2017). 8 California Law Review Online 1 (2017), Kelley School of Business Research Paper No. 17-46, Available at SSRN:

Todd Haugh (Contact Author)

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business ( email )

1309 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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