Faculty Publications

Title

How Environmental Perceptions Affect Our Commitment to Act Ethically

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-22-2011

Abstract

In a recently released working paper, Lisa Shu and her fellow researchers at the Harvard Business School conducted studies that revealed that the instances of honest attestations improved when subjects were asked to sign a document at the beginning rather than at the conclusion of a report. The team’s hypothesis is that signing at the beginning of the document increases ethical salience by framing the reporting exercise as having ethical implications at the outset. Signing at the end of a report does not have the same effect since individuals who have acted dishonestly by falsely attesting have already rationalized their behavior.