Sliding down the slippery slope


First, you might accidentally take home a couple of pens from your office. Then the next thing you know, you’re printing off reams of documents for a side project and scooping up memo pads for stocking stuffers. You’re on a slippery slope — experiencing what behavioral ethicists call “incrementalism.” 

Incrementalism happens in our daily lives when we do things like filch ever-growing quantities of office supplies. And we’ve seen it play out on a grand scale in news stories such as the Enron scandal and the Abu Ghraib prison abuses. “We slowly lose our ethical footing one step at a time,” McCombs Professor Robert Prentice says in the video series “Concepts Unwrapped,” a part of the Ethics Unwrapped project.

We’re highlighting segments of the series on Texas Enterprise; watch all the videos and “In It To Win,” a documentary on Jack Abramoff, at


Faculty in this Article

Robert Prentice

Professor, Business Law

Robert A. Prentice is chair of the Department of Business, Government and...

About The Author

Sarah Beckham

Senior Editor, McCombs School of Business

As a senior editor for the McCombs communications department, Sarah Beckham oversees the Texas Enterprise and McCombs Today websites, as well as...

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