Currently viewing the tag: "ethics"

The Ruling Class

“People like to think they are inherently moral creatures — you either have character or you don’t. But our studies show that the same person may make a completely different decision based on what hat they may be wearing at the time, often without even realizing it.”
Leavitt, an assistant professor of management in the College of Business at OSU, is an expert on non-conscious decision making and business ethics. He studies how people make decisions and moral judgments, often based on non-conscious cues.
…”What we consider to be moral sometimes depends on what constituency we are answering to at that moment,” Leavitt said. “For a physician, a human life is priceless. But if that same physician is a managed-care administrator, some degree of moral flexibility becomes necessary to meet their obligations to stockholders.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Work on a character sketch which shows the way that situation affects ethics.

Journaling Prompt: Are you a different person at work than you are around your friends or your family? Write about your different personalities.

Art Prompt: Situational Ethics

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about ethics and how our choices are influenced by the situation in which we find ourselves.

Photo Credit: Alex E. Proimos on Flickr

Cheat ! (Edit 1)

Creative people are more likely to cheat than less creative people, possibly because this talent increases their ability to rationalize their actions, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

“Greater creativity helps individuals solve difficult tasks across many domains, but creative sparks may lead individuals to take unethical routes when searching for solutions to problems and tasks,” said lead researcher Francesca Gino, PhD, of Harvard University. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a scene about someone who cheats. What is the inner monologue that the person goes through to rationalize the cheating?

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time you cheated. How did you rationalize it to yourself?

Art Prompt: Cheat

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the epidemic of cheating in society today and give some suggestions for curbing it.

Photo Credit: Craig Sunter on Flickr


“For a long time we’ve asked ourselves, ‘How come smart, rational people carry out short-term schemes that in the long-term undoubtedly are going to sink them?'” says author Ramy Elitzur, who holds the Edward J. Kernaghan Professorship in Financial Analysis and is an associate professor of accounting.

“The answer is — we’re not rational. We’re rational only in a limited sense.”

The study bases its findings on a model of the manager-owner relationship over time. The model is also noteworthy for combining principles of game theory — used to predict strategic behaviour — with the idea of bounded rationality — that our decisions are always made within the limits of available time, information, and the human capacity to analyze it. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene about someone who carries out a scheme doomed to fail.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you misjudged a situation.

Art Prompt: Scheming

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about a scheme that suckered in a lot of people and what we can learn by studying it.

Photo Credit: Big C Harvey on Flickr

moral disengagement

“We often hear that people who feel envious of their colleagues try to bring them down by spreading negative rumours, withholding useful information, or secretly sabotaging their work,” says Prof. Aquino, who conducted the study with colleagues from the University of Minnesota, Clemson University in South Carolina and Georgia State University.

However, Aquino says envy is only the fuel for sabotage. “The match is not struck unless employees experience what psychologists call ‘moral disengagement’ — a way of thinking that allows people to rationalize or justify harming others.”

The researchers explain that moral disengagement is most likely to occur when an envious co-worker feels disconnected from others in the workplace. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a character sketch for someone who is morally disengaged. What motivates his or her bad behavior?

Journaling Prompt: Write about an office gossip you have known.

Art Prompt: Morally disengaged

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about moral disengagement and office sabotage. Give them resources to use if they find themselves in this situation.

Photo Credit: bareknuckleyellow on Flickr


Shafia safely handing over the 'pot' to the member

Why are some places more prone to bribery and corruption than others? Part of the answer seems to be the level of collective feeling in a society, according to research by Pankaj Aggarwal, University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) professor of marketing in the Department of Management, and Nina Mazar, University of Toronto professor of marketing.

Aggarwal and Mazar discovered that people in more collectivist cultures — in which individuals see themselves as interdependent and as part of a larger society — are more likely to offer bribes than people from more individualistic cultures. Their work suggests that people in collectivist societies may feel less individually responsible for their actions, and therefore less guilty about offering a bribe…

Adjusted for wealth, the degree of collectivism in a country predicted just how likely a business person was to offer a bribe to a business partner.

It’s not that those business people saw bribes as acceptable — other surveys have shown that bribery is widely seen as morally repugnant across cultures… –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Create a situation in which your character must use bribery to achieve his or her goal.

Journaling Prompt: Have you ever resorted to bribery? If not money, perhaps you’ve used chocolate? Hmmm?

Art Prompt: Bribery
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how customs surrounding bribery affect culture.

Photo Credit: imtfi on Flickr


How would you choose?

Sunday was church again, and the sermon wasn’t too bad. It even made sense without having to rely on divine authority and grace. That kind of preaching — the kind that inspired human striving toward a better world—I could take, at least in small doses. Larger doses might have been harder, because I was definitely guilty of some significant sin, especially in the old sense of the word, and it didn’t make that much difference to my own feelings of guilt that I really hadn’t had much choice in the matter. I suppose that was one of the things that bothered me about the moralists—either the secular or the religious kinds. They both had lists of immoral acts, but no one talked about the structures in society and religion that often put people like me in a situation where the only “moral” course was to get killed or take great abuse, or both. I had both personal and philosophical objections to any system where martyrdom was the most moral course. -L.E. Modesitt Jr., Flash

Writing Prompt: Write about a character who is in a no win situation. What does he or she choose?

Journaling Prompt: What would you choose? Ethics or survival?

Art Prompt: Preaching
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about a moral issue you feel strongly about, but do it with logic rather than moralizing.

Photo Credit: Garrette on Flickr