Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ken Shotts Dean's Convocation

In this presentation, Dr. Ken Shotts discusses how moral psychology might be able to provide some answers as to why corporate scandals happen. He suggests that self-serving biases and situational factors may offer some explanation of corporate wrong-doing. Dr. Shotts points to studies in human psychology and applies them to HealthSouth’s accounting and Libor’s rate-fixing scandals. He also gives some ideas on how social pressures can work for good for individuals and organizations through setting up the right incentives, legitimizing dissent within organizations, and planning in advance what social pressures may exist and how to handle them. Dr. Shotts closes with the following:

“Context around us has a powerful effect. It’s hard to expect that the context is not going to shape me in really foundational ways, therefore, be careful about choosing the path of our lives so that we put ourselves in situations that will help us be the good and virtuous people that we aspire to be rather than the not-so-good and not-so-virtuous people that we maybe are all capable of being.”

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