Insights From

Business Ethics

Here’s an Idea: Don’t Steal My Idea

It turns out that people perceive idea theft as a greater transgression than money theft and judge it more harshly, according to new research from Darden Professor Lillien Ellis. Further, people perceive the theft of creative ideas as worse than the theft of practical ones.

Innocent Until Proven Angry: Misperceptions of Righteous Indignation

The lady doth protest too much? Research shows that people are indeed likely to interpret anger as guilt in the face of an accusation — though it’s more likely an indication of innocence. Darden Professor Gabrielle Adams investigates various responses to accusations and how we interpret their veracity: angry denial, calm denial or silence.

The ‘Equal-Opportunity Jerk Defense’: When Rudeness Protects Prejudice

Sexism and rudeness: not mutually exclusive. New research shows that rudeness can hide sexism, as observers may dismiss perpetrators as “equal-opportunity jerks.” Darden professors explain how the phenomenon not only turns bad behavior into plausible deniability, it can also serve as a barrier to addressing sexism in the workplace.

Actionable Tactics Toward Racial Justice

People agree that racism is real and wrong, but what can they do about it? With actionable advice, a new book in the Giving Voice to Values series explores how we can move from examining the causes to actively being part of the solution. For example: realistic influence, practically addressing structures, and effectively promoting diversity.

Spotlight on Spotify: Scandal, Governance and the Potential for Prevention

Spotify is under scrutiny for content on Joe Rogan’s podcast and talent compensation. Darden experts explain how crises can be tempered with good governance — who’s on the board, how it thinks about risk, the business model, strategy, process and culture. Ultimately, “Governance is the way a firm organizes around and executes on its purpose.”

The Art of Community: The Potential and Power of Collective Art

Public art contributes to community pride, civic engagement, reduced crime and boosted economic activity — and can be enjoyed without the barriers of cost and class. Here, academics and community activists offer a five-stage framework by which community leaders and policymakers can tap into the power of collaborative art and its impact on society.

4 Reasons Behind the Volatility of China’s Billionaire List

Between 2020 and 2021, the number of billionaires in China rose by more than 60 percent. Compared to the U.S. — which still holds the highest number of billionaires — China’s list changes frequently. Why does it show so much turnover? The answer has to do with the country’s dualistic capitalist-socialist identity.

Big Brother in the Workplace: Do Employees Accept Behavior Tracking?

Behavior tracking is playing a growing role in today’s workplace. Darden Professor Roshni Raveendhran offers a psychological account for employees’ increased willingness to accept, rather than resist, technology-operated behavior tracking, which sheds light on how business leaders should approach employee monitoring.

How Companies Blow It: Whistleblowing, Facebook and the Double Problem

Facebook’s whistlerblower, Frances Haugen, has made international headlines with her claims about the inner workings against the tech giant. Professor Jared Harris discusses business ethics in the era of big tech.

Quantifying the Quality of Integrity: CEOs, Auditors and Outcomes

The value of a culture of integrity: Using linguistic analysis of public communications, researchers studied which CEOs are likely to mislead investors and fail to follow through on promises. The CEO behavioral integrity index provides systematic evidence of the consequences of low integrity — here’s what it means for auditors and the bottom line.