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Why do good people do bad things?

New book on Workplace Morality explores ethical behaviour at work

Image: Book: Workplace Morality Behavioral Ethics in Organizations.Bingley, United Kingdom, 2 December 2013 – Knowing what explains the good and the bad behaviour of people within organizations is essential to predict and influence it. In his book, Workplace Morality, Behavioral Ethics in Organizations, Muel Kaptein uses social psychology to explain the misdemeanours of managers and employees in 52 concise experiments. Kaptein illustrates ethical dilemmas with clear cases, answering puzzling questions such as “Why do honest and decent employees sometimes overstep the mark?” or “What makes managers with integrity go off the rails”. Published by Emerald, the book is available now:

Rob van Tulder, Professor of International Business-Society Management, RSM Erasmus University of Rotterdam, comments: “Professor Kaptein has written a very intelligent account of what I would call the ‘social psychology of ethical dilemmas’. The short and concise chapters not only give abundant illustrations of why people do bad things (the moral dimension), but also include creative experiments through which some of these behaviorist dilemmas can realistically be managed (the practical dimension). A stimulating and thought provoking read!”
Kaptein has identified clarity, role-modeling, achievability, commitment, transparency, openness, and enforcement as the seven factors influencing people’s behaviours in the workplace. These factors form the framework through which the 52 concise experiments are related in as many chapters.  For instance, we learn how background music affects people’s self-image and therefore their behaviour, and how the cultural identity of a country can significantly affect the behaviour of its citizens. Through its abundance of illustrated examples, the book builds a multi-faceted and thought-provoking account of what brings people to misbehave.

Muel Kaptein is Professor of Business Ethics and Integrity Management at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. He has worked as an academic and consultant in Business Ethics since 1991, and is currently a partner at KPMG.

To find out more about the book and read a free excerpt, visit

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Note to Editors:

To request a review copy of Workplace Morality, Behavioral Ethics in Organizations, contact Martyn Lawrence, Publisher,

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