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When confronted with an ethical dilemma, most of us like to think we would stand up for our principles. But we are not as ethical as we think we are. In Blind Spots, leading business ethicists Max Bazerman and Ann Tenbrunsel examine the ways we overestimate our ability to do what is right and how we act unethically without meaning to. From the collapse of Enron and corruption in the tobacco industry, to sales of the defective Ford Pinto and the downfall of Bernard Madoff, the authors investigate the nature of ethical failures in the business world and beyond, and illustrate how we can become more ethical, bridging the gap between who we are and who we want to be.
Explaining why traditional approaches to ethics don't work, the book considers how blind spots like ethical fading--the removal of ethics from the decision--making process--have led to tragedies and scandals such as the Challenger space shuttle disaster, steroid use in Major League Baseball, the crash in the financial markets, and the energy crisis. The authors demonstrate how ethical standards shift, how we neglect to notice and act on the unethical behavior of others, and how compliance initiatives can actually promote unethical behavior. Distinguishing our "should self" (the person who knows what is correct) from our "want self" (the person who ends up making decisions), the authors point out ethical sinkholes that create questionable actions.
Suggesting innovative individual and group tactics for improving human judgment, Blind Spots shows us how to secure a place for ethics in our workplaces, institutions, and daily lives.
"If you want to be an ethical person or organization and are sometimes left nonplussed by the unethical behavior that still ensues nonetheless, then this is the right book to help you understand and correctly ensure that ethical behavior happens when push comes to shove."—Mouse Trap blog
"Are we as ethical as we think we are? An important new book by . . . Max Bazerman and . . . Ann Tenbrunsel says probably not. In Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What's Right and What to Do about It, Bazerman and Tenbrunsel make a convincing case that a significant gap exists between how ethical we think we are and how ethical we actually are."—Scott Flegal, Nashua Telegraph
"In their well-written, easily accessible text, Bazerman and Tenbrunsel rely on well-known cases of ethical failure and prior research, often previously popularized psychological studies, to frame the emerging field of behavioral ethics. . . . [I]t serves as an excellent introduction to the discipline."—Choice
"I enjoyed this book and think it is ideal for a team of managers to read together. Knowing how common it is for individuals to miss seeing a conflict or bias, colleagues could commit to challenging each other with candor and care."—Jill Geisler, Poynter
"I will surely consider using the text in the classroom in the future. . . . [P]articularly if one is trying to establish organizational policy that encourages ethical behavior—there is a good deal here that will be of interest."—J. Jeremy Wisnewski, Philosophy in Review