In four experimental studies we showed that psychological distance is a moderator that determines when the experience of disgust influences moral judgment. We found that disgust leads to more severe moral judgment of moral violations that are psychologically distant (vs. near). The findings support the notion that disgust is an avoidance-oriented emotion that mainly pertains to unknown threats.
Erasmus Centre of Behavioural Ethics
The Erasmus Centre of Behavioural Ethics (ECBE) focuses on the global challenges of responsible leadership and decision making.
Ethical challenges are worldwide recognized as one of the primary concerns that organizations, managers and leaders have to deal with. Our centre aims to understand how people evaluate, interpret and experience ethics and morality when making decisions, building relationships and creating effective and transforming working climates.
With this focus we hope to increase our insights into the why and how of ethics – hence our behavioural approach - and to arrive at a better management of ethics, trust and social influence in our global and interpersonal relationships. The centre has a specific focus on contributing to these global challenges through a systematic understanding of human behavior as obtained by both laboratory and field research.
In every workplace people occasionally feel wronged after a conflict. An apology can help to restore trust and normalise working relations but only when it comes with forgiveness. A new study by a team of scientists including Marius van Dijke and Laura M. Giurge of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), shows that apologies coming from a leader may not have that desired healing effect. When duped staff members have less power than the wrongdoer, they become cynical about the good intentions behind the apology and find it hard to forgive, the study found.
The project involved five months of intensive research on behalf of the Custodial Institutions Agency (Dutch: Dienst Justiële Inrichtingen [DJI]). DJI is the agency that is responsible for the penitentiary institutions in the Netherlands (e.g. prisons, half-way houses). Professionals working at DJI deal with difficult, morally laden, situations on nearly a daily basis. Protocols and guidelines do generally not suffice to deal with many, if not all, of these situations. Professionals thus need to be able to make good moral decisions in the trickiest of situations. The research offers guidelines to what the best way is to train their professionals moral decision making and a proposal for the training of professionals to learn to make better moral decisions.