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Ethics Pays

Is good ethics really good for business? Crime and sleazy behavior sometimes pay off handsomely. People wouldn’t do such things if they didn’t think they were more profitable than the alternatives. But lets make two distinctions right up front. First, let’s contrast individual employees with companies. Of course it can benefit individual employees to lie, […]

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When it comes to ethics, we look to leaders to lead on ethics and take responsibility for both good and bad results. Philosophers have been discussing ethical leadership (as in what leaders should do) for quite some time but the topic is relatively new as an area of social scientific study. Leaders who lead ethically are role […]

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Cheating & Honesty

Cheating, misconduct, deception and other forms of unethical behavior are widespread today, not just in business but in sports, government, schools, and many other arenas. While the media often focuses on extreme cases of cheating and sensational scams (such as Madoff’s ponzi scheme)­­­, less attention is paid to what researchers call “ordinary unethical behavior.” For example: not reporting […]


Contextual Influences

When we see someone doing something bad, we usually jump to the conclusion that the person is bad. Only later, if ever, do we consider the broader context—the social situation—which can strongly influence people’s behavior. Many of the classic experiments in social psychology are famous because they show how easily situations can overwhelm our moral […]

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Accounting is the process of collecting, aggregating, validating, and reporting information about business performance. Until the last century, accountants focused almost exclusively on financial information generated from double-entry bookkeeping. Since then, their purview has expanded to many other financial and nonfinancial measures. Subfields are typically defined by the audience an accountant reports to: outside investors […]