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Behavioral ethics for Homo economicus, Homo heuristicus, and Homo duplex

  • Kluver, Jesse
  • Frazier, Rebecca
  • Haidt, Jonathan
Registered author(s):

    In this article we explore how assumptions about human nature may influence the ways one might try to promote ethical behavior in organizations. We summarize two common views of human nature in organizational research—Homo economicus and Homo heuristicus. We then extend these views by putting forward a third view of human nature initially proposed by Emile Durkheim—Homo duplex—which describes human beings as moving back and forth between a lower (individual) and higher (collective) level. We suggest that the Homo duplex view is uniquely equipped to account for variables of interest to organizational scholars because of its attention to a fundamental tension: People in organizations can be both selfish and groupish, and the balance between those tendencies influences the ethical profile of the organization in complex ways. We end with a discussion of the theoretical implications of the Homo duplex view for behavioral ethics researchers.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597813001271
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 123 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 150-158

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:123:y:2014:i:2:p:150-158
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

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    1. Ernst Fehr & Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd, 2003. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small- Scale Societies," Microeconomics 0305009, EconWPA.
    2. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2011. "Was There Really a Hawthorne Effect at the Hawthorne Plant? An Analysis of the Original Illumination Experiments," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 224-38, January.
    3. Smith, Adam, 1776. "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1776.
    4. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 2002. "Evolution of Social Behavior: Individual and Group Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 67-88, Spring.
    5. Arrow, Kenneth J, 1994. "Methodological Individualism and Social Knowledge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 1-9, May.
    6. Joseph Henrich & Steve J. Heine & Ara Norenzayan, 2010. "The Weirdest People in the World?," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 139, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
    7. Frank, Robert H, 1987. "If Homo Economicus Could Choose His Own Utility Function, Would He Want One with a Conscience?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 593-604, September.
    8. Stephen R G Jones, 1991. "Was There a Hawthorne Effect?," Department of Economics Working Papers 1991-01, McMaster University.
    9. Smith, Adam, 1759. "The Theory of Moral Sentiments," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1759.
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