Why Do Good People Do Bad Things?
College of Communication
"One way to avoid moral muteness obviously is to make a habit of talking about issues with people whom we trust. When we raise concerns in the company, we can position ourself as someone who is trying to help the organization, to protect it from problems, rather than as someone who is out to judge or slap hands." Meme Drumwright, Associate Professor, College of Communication
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 11:30AM - 1:00PM
Why do good people do bad things? That is, how do well intended people—people who pledged to abide by honor codes in college and ethics codes in the workplace--make bad decisions and get caught up in ethical problems and even scandals. There are no two ways about it. Having integrity can be difficult even for people with good intentions who want to do the right thing.
Meme Drumwright has written about two reasons that people have ethical lapses—moral myopia and moral muteness. Moral myopia is a distortion of moral vision that keeps moral issues from coming clearly into focus. People with moral muteness just don’t talk about moral issues. They either don’t voice moral sentiments or they communicate in ways that obscure their moral beliefs and commitments.
How is it that this blindness and muteness exist? How can smart people miss these things that should be so apparent? Drawing on her research and the research of others, Drumwright will explain how good people develop moral myopia and moral muteness. She will illustrate these concepts using short films that are part of a dynamic new McCombs initiative—Ethics Unwrapped.
Drumwright will also talk about how business people can develop moral sensitivity and moral imagination—the ability to think outside the box and see ethical alternatives that others do not see. These people can serve as an “organizational conscience.”
- How to identify and understand the rationalizations that support moral myopia and moral muteness
- How to develop moral imagination
- How to give voice to your values and put them into action
- How to play the role of organizational conscience.