Robert Prentice, Chair of the Department of Business, Government & Society at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and a founder of Ethics Unwrapped (which has produced some of the best educational material on behavioral ethics, including 3 dozen videos with teaching notes), has recently posted two new articles on behavioral ethics on SSRN. Both provide excellent discussions of the central tenets of behavioral ethics research and reinforce the importance of teaching ethics from a behavioral perspective. They are well worth reading.
(1) Teaching Behavioral Ethics
Abstract: Teaching ethics is challenging and a teacher needs as many arrows in the quiver as possible. This article explains one approach to teaching behavioral ethics, a new and promising way of thinking about and teaching ethics. This approach focuses on helping good people minimize the number of bad things that they do by understanding how and why people make the ethical (and unethical) decisions that they do. The article goes into detail regarding the author’s idiosyncratic pedagogical approach, but contains lengthy discussions of recent research to serve as a resource for those seeking more familiarity with behavioral ethics so that they can form their own approaches. The article also highlights “Ethics Unwrapped,” a free ethics education resource that contains several videos that can be usefully applied to teaching behavioral ethics, as well as other ethical concepts.
(2) Behavioral Ethics: Can It Help Lawyers (and Others) Be Their Best Selves?
Abstract: Using the principles of behavioral psychology and related fields, marketers have changed human behavior in order to increase sales. Governments have used these same principles to change human behavior in order to advance policy goals, such as increasing savings behavior or organ donation. This article surveys a significant portion of the new learning in behavioral ethics in support of the claim that by teaching behavioral ethics we have a realistic chance to improve the ethicality of human decision making and actions.
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