The familiar quote that ‘power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely’, is a commentary on the negative relationship between power and what scientists call “prosocial behaviour” – that is, taking action above and beyond one’s duties for the good of the team or the community to which one belongs. Marius van Dijke recently published new research that questions this quote.
Scientific misconduct is often portrayed as resulting from a few bad apples. In reality, however, almost all people involved in research finds it at times difficult to make the right decisions. To help you better understand the ethical challenges that you can run into as a researcher, and to help you develop skills to deal with these challenges, the ECBE developed the Ethics game.
Why and how do organisations – and people – make decisions that hurt the company’s long-term future? How can identifying virtues and encouraging professionals to stick to their ethical values help your organisation achieve its performance objectives? How can you shape your organisation’s environment to prevent misbehaviour and develop sustainable good working practices? In this two-day programme you will learn scientifically proven concepts, and discover a practical toolkit to help you maintain and develop your own ethically sound leadership. The group discussions, case studies, presentations, simulations, role-playing and serious games will equip you with tools and knowledge to be a force for positive change.
How does disgust relate to morality? One intriguing finding from moral psychology research is that experiencing disgust makes people offer more severe judgments of unrelated morally contentious issues. Recent research from the ECBE shows that disgust affects moral judgment in particular of distant, rather than near violations. In other words, disgust influences your moral judgment of a lying politician more strongly than of a cheating spouse. Why would you want to avoid things that are far away already? This makes sense from a disease avoidance explanation of the role of disgust: disgust – an emotion that evolved to avoid sources of contagious pathogens – may during the course of human evolution have taken on the role of avoiding moral transgressors. And avoiding sources of contamination makes most sense for things for which you have no immunity, that is, for distant, strange things.
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.