This module is a resource for lecturers  




Evidence from behavioural science research has shown that  people are less consistent and less rational in their decisions than they would like to admit to themselves. Sometimes a person may not be aware when his or her behaviour diverts from ethical standards. This is because justifications and biased judgment blur the perception of ethical breaches (OECD, 2018). This Module provides a brief introduction to the field of behavioural ethics, which studies the psychological processes that drive ethical and unethical behaviours. The aim of this Module is to provide students with insights into human behaviour that can be easily translated into actions they can take to create more ethical environments. The Module relies on students completing up to three surveys before class begins, as part of the preparation process. These surveys will provide data that can be used to illustrate concepts presented in the Module. Students will understand the concepts better when they can see those concepts in their own behaviour. The pre-class surveys are a critical innovation for this Module, as they illustrate not only course content but also how behavioural science is conducted.

The Module is a resource for lecturers. It provides an outline for a three-hour class but can be used for shorter or longer sessions, or extended into a full-fledged course (see: Guidelines to develop a stand-alone course).


Learning outcomes

  • Identify ethical risks in everyday life, societies, and organizations that can lead to unethical choices such as structures that diffuse responsibility or a group that has collectively de-stigmatized unethical behaviour
  • Understand that ethical choices are not made in isolation, but are part of social interaction (so what others think or do matters)
  • Use behavioral insights to create an environment which encourages more ethical behaviour
  • Appreciate that behavioural policy design can be implemented effectively to increase ethical behaviour at very little financial cost
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