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Blind Spots:
Why We Fail to Do What's Right and What to Do about It
Max H. Bazerman & Ann E. Tenbrunsel

Winner of the 2012 Silver Medal Book Award in Business Ethics, Axiom Business

Paperback | 2012 | $16.95 / £11.95 | ISBN: 9780691156224
Hardcover | 2011 | $24.95 / £16.95 | ISBN: 9780691147505
208 pp. | 6 x 9 | 10 line illus. | SHOPPING CART

eBook | ISBN: 9781400837991 |
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(photos by Stuart Cahill & Mark Battrell)
Podcast courtesy of: Good Practice


bigthink.com Bazerman Interview

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, the downfall of Bernard Madoff, and the Challenger space shuttle disaster, 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. They argue that scandals will continue to emerge unless such approaches take into account the psychology of individuals faced with ethical dilemmas. 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.

Max H. Bazerman is the Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is the author and coauthor of many books, including Negotiation Genius. Ann E. Tenbrunsel is the Rex and Alice A. Martin Professor of Business Ethics at the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame. She is the coeditor of several books, including Codes of Conduct.

Review:

"Well-written, stuffed with intriguing research, and more than a little unnerving, this book will make readers reconsider some of their most entrenched beliefs."--BizEd

"[Blind Spots] is full of studies in human behavior and those results can help us, and the people we manage, make better decisions. . . . [T]he book should be required reading for anyone entering the business world . . . or for those of us who still try to reconcile misdeeds that did not have to be."--Walter Pavlo, Forbes.com

"One explanation for what happened at News of the World can be found in a new book called Blind Spots. Its authors Max Bazerman and Ann Tenbrunsel look at how businesses, from Ford to Enron to subprime mortgage lenders, can end up mired in ethical disaster. But rather than discuss such choices as coolly calculated trade-offs between right and wrong, they look at how people actually make decisions--under pressure from shareholders, bosses and colleagues, up against tight deadlines and often worried about their careers, or even whether their contracts are going to be renewed."--Aditya Chakrabortty, Guardian

"This book is a step toward . . . bringing together a host of studies by the authors and others that probe how easy it is for us [to] act less ethically than we would like. The book also shows how organizations can take advantage of these findings in behavioural ethics to change their informal culture . . ."--Harvey Schachter, The Globe & Mail

"Bazerman and Tenbrunsel apply insights from the field of behavioral ethics to understand why individuals and organizations act unethically and what can be done to prevent such behavior. They draw on research from psychology and business to illustrate how factors outside our awareness influence decisions and behavior, and what we can do to prevent ethical lapses."--Taya R. Cohen, Pittsburgh Business Times

More reviews

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments ix
Chapter 1: The Gap between Intended and Actual Ethical Behavior 1
Chapter 2: Why Traditional Approaches to Ethics Won’t Save You 24
Chapter 3: When We Act against Our Own Ethical Values 38
Chapter 4: Why You Aren’t as Ethical as You Think You Are 61
Chapter 5: When We Ignore Unethical Behavior 77
Chapter 6: Placing False Hope in the "Ethical Organization" 100
Chapter 7: Why We Fail to Fix Our Corrupted Institutions 128
Chapter 8: Narrowing the Gap: Interventions for Improving Ethical Behavior 152
Notes 173
Index 187

This book has been translated into:

  • Spanish
  • Portuguese (Brazil)

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      File created: 7/11/2014

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