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Ethical Blindness


  • Guido Palazzo


  • Franciska Krings


  • Ulrich Hoffrage



Many models of (un)ethical decision making assume that people decide rationally and are in principle able to evaluate their decisions from a moral point of view. However, people might behave unethically without being aware of it. They are ethically blind. Adopting a sensemaking approach, we argue that ethical blindness results from a complex interplay between individual sensemaking activities and context factors. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Guido Palazzo & Franciska Krings & Ulrich Hoffrage, 2012. "Ethical Blindness," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 109(3), pages 323-338, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:109:y:2012:i:3:p:323-338
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-011-1130-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Jost, John T. & Blount, Sally & Pfeffer, Jeffrey & Hunyady, Gyorgy, 2003. "Fair Market Ideology: Its Cognitive-Motivational Underpinnings," Research Papers 1816, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    7. Peter Fleming & Stelios C. Zyglidopoulos, 2008. "The Escalation of Deception in Organizations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 81(4), pages 837-850, September.
    8. Ashkanasy, Neal M. & Windsor, Carolyn A. & Treviño, Linda K., 2006. "Bad Apples in Bad Barrels Revisited: Cognitive Moral Development, Just World Beliefs, Rewards, and Ethical Decision-Making," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(04), pages 449-473, October.
    9. Roselie McDevitt & Catherine Giapponi & Cheryl Tromley, 2007. "A Model of Ethical Decision Making: The Integration of Process and Content," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 73(2), pages 219-229, June.
    10. Niki A. Nieuwenboer & Muel Kaptein, 2008. "Spiraling Down into Corruption: A Dynamic Analysis of the Social Identity Processes that Cause Corruption in Organizations to Grow," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 83(2), pages 133-146, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barbara Culiberg & Domen Bajde, 2014. "Do You Need a Receipt? Exploring Consumer Participation in Consumption Tax Evasion as an Ethical Dilemma," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 124(2), pages 271-282, October.
    2. J. J. Klerk, 2017. "Nobody is as Blind as Those Who Cannot Bear to See: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on the Management of Emotions and Moral Blindness," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 141(4), pages 745-761, April.
    3. repec:kap:jbuset:v:142:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3154-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jamie-Lee Campbell & Anja Göritz, 2014. "Culture Corrupts! A Qualitative Study of Organizational Culture in Corrupt Organizations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 120(3), pages 291-311, March.
    5. repec:kap:jbuset:v:146:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3237-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Katrina Graham & Jonathan Ziegert & Johnna Capitano, 2015. "The Effect of Leadership Style, Framing, and Promotion Regulatory Focus on Unethical Pro-Organizational Behavior," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 126(3), pages 423-436, February.
    7. Ajit Nayak, 2016. "Wisdom and the Tragic Question: Moral Learning and Emotional Perception in Leadership and Organisations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 1-13, August.
    8. Mark S. Schwartz, 2016. "Ethical Decision-Making Theory: An Integrated Approach," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 139(4), pages 755-776, December.
    9. Sebastian Goebel & Barbara E. Weißenberger, 2017. "The Relationship Between Informal Controls, Ethical Work Climates, and Organizational Performance," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 141(3), pages 505-528, March.


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