The Ethical Executive: Becoming Aware of the Root Causes of Unethical Behavior: 45 Psychological Traps That Every One of Us Falls Prey To

By Robert Hoyk; Paul Hersey | Go to book overview

TRAP 1:
OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITY

AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR, scientists were driven to understand the insanity of the holocaust. Citizens of Germany had committed immoral acts, torture and murder, against millions of human beings. How could normal people behave so atrociously? In 1960, Stanley Milgram at Yale University was one of the researchers who wanted to understand how such a horror could ever happen.

IMAGINE. You’ve volunteered to be a subject in a scientific experiment. You’ve read an ad in the local newspaper that a professor at Yale University is conducting an experiment and needs subjects. The experiment has to do with learning and memory. You’ll be compensated $4.50 for an hour of participation. In 1960, $4.50 had much more value than it does today. You’re a high school teacher just out of college. You have an interest in psychology so you decide to sign up.

You’re scheduled to participate in the experiment on a Saturday morning. You have a little trouble finding the laboratory on the campus of Yale, but you make it on time. You meet with a professor of psychology, Dr. Milgram, who is wearing a gray laboratory coat. Dr. Milgram introduces you to Mr. Mccourt, another subject who has also volunteered. Mr. Mccourt is softspoken and has an Irish accent. With a lively smile, he gives you a firm handshake. It is only later, after the experiment is finished, that you will be told that Mr. Mccourt is actually an accomplice, a professional actor, someone trained for the

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The Ethical Executive: Becoming Aware of the Root Causes of Unethical Behavior: 45 Psychological Traps That Every One of Us Falls Prey To
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Foreword xiii
  • The Ethical Executive xv
  • Trapped! 1
  • Why Do Traps Exist, and What Are They? 6
  • Why This Isn’t Just Another Business Ethics Book 8
  • A Word about Research 13
  • Part I - Primary Traps 15
  • Trap 1 - Obedience to Authority 17
  • Trap 2 - Small Steps 21
  • Sidesteppingr Esponsibility 23
  • Trap 6 - Competition 27
  • Self-Interest 31
  • Trap 10 - Conflicts of Loyalty 37
  • Trap 11 39
  • Trap 12 - Conformity Pressure 43
  • Trap 13 - "Don’t Make Waves" 44
  • Trap 14 - Self-Enhancement 46
  • Trap 15 - Time Pressure 48
  • Trap 16 - Decision Schemas 51
  • Trap 17 - Enacting a Role 53
  • Trap 18 - Power 55
  • Trap 19 - Justification 57
  • Trap 20 - Obligation 60
  • Part II - Defensive Traps 61
  • Annihilation of Guilt 63
  • Minimizing 68
  • Trap 33 - Addiction 75
  • Trap 34 - Coworker Reactions 77
  • Trap 35 - Established Impressions 79
  • Trap 36 - Contempt for the Victim 82
  • Trap 37 - Doing Is Believing 85
  • Part III - Personality Traps 87
  • Trap 38 - Psychopathy 89
  • Traps 39 and 40 - Poverty and Neglect 92
  • Trap 41 - Low Self-Esteem 94
  • Trap 42 - Authoritarianism 95
  • Trap 43 - Social Dominance Orientation 96
  • Trap 44 - Need for Closure 98
  • Trap 45 - Empathy 100
  • Part IV - Analyzing Dilemmas 103
  • The Parable of the Sadhu 105
  • Jonestown 109
  • Final Words 117
  • Notes 119
  • Index 131
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