Publications & Products
Volume 1, Issue 43


Slow Down to Avoid Bad Decisions at Work

New research says that managers who work too fast and rush into decisions are more likely to make selfish and unethical choices.

Margaret Heffernan, author of Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril, recently wrote an article for AOL Jobs in which she discussed a set of experiments conducted by Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. Researchers at the school asked students to choose between two business decisions—one honest and the other less honest. The students at the college who were given more time to consider the consequences of their actions and think of others made the more ethical choice. Conversely, those students who were under time pressure made more selfish decisions.

"I can't be surprised by these findings," Heffernan says. "Ethical thinking is cognitively expensive: It takes effort, focus and time. It's easily crowded out by multitasking, distractions and fatigue. Many other experiments demonstrate that people often make unethical choices not because they intend to—but because they didn't see that ethics were involved at all."

Heffernan advises that managers take the time to understand the full repercussions of all of their decisions.


This article is from the May 7, 2012 issue of Advancement Weekly.

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