When Good People do Bad Things at work: Rote Behaviour, Distractions, and Moral Exclusion Stymie Ethical Behavior on the Job

When Good People do Bad Things at work: Rote Behaviour, Distractions, and Moral Exclusion Stymie Ethical Behavior on the Job


This report focuses on evaluating the concept of why good people do bad things in the workplace. The assumption made in the article by Moberg (1999) is founded on the assumption that good individuals strive in doing the right thing. This is by appreciating their practices and outcomes. The process is dependent on the awareness of the rights of others and acting in a manner of consistency with the manner they are treating others. This is supported by Zhang et al. (2020) which highlight on the concept of the Golden Rule. The golden rule is based on the view that good people tend to think with their head and act in concert with their heart and applying knowledge and wisdom attained by lifetime of experiences. Through several instances provided in the source, the need to embrace honesty, trust-based relations, fairness in practice and being empathetic towards each other being prioritised and put into account. Ethical issues are prevalent as conflicts in workplace unfair treatment and forcing them in acting out of expedience instead of what is right to do. For all the issues presented in the case study article, the core values which need to be embraced in contemporary workplaces include embrace of honesty practice, integrity and transparency. As Moberg recommended, this has a direct implication in mitigating the existence of corporate villains. These are what the author has identified as issues with Lincoln Savings and Loan bilked with whistle-blower issue with Jeffrey Wigant. A summary of the problems evidenced by the authors informed by situational factors which influence them in doing their best and eliminating what is inappropriate.

Problem 1: Scripts

Linking the concept with psychologists’ practices, the author had introduced the concept of scripts. This is also supported by Demorest (2013) findings which identify the scripts as a form of practice that leverage on experience to guide the practice in particular phenomenon. For instance, brushing teeth or congratulating friends for good work done is a form of scripts. Hence, these are memory stored mechanically or in rote manner. Linking this to the behaviours in workplace, it is identified that as opposed to thinking on an aspect in workplace, energy is reserved for other roles and behaviours similar to cruising an automatic pilot.

To demonstrate how good people end up doing bad things at work either knowingly or unknowingly, the author of the case offered a set of examples for demonstrating this. The examples included Ford Motor Co.’s which had failed in recalling Pinto in the 1970s. This was an automobile which had undetected design flaws which were contributing to gas tank bursting into flames on impact leading to death and disfigurement of victims. As a tradition, the Ford Motor Co. CEO was either intentionally or unintentionally dismissing many cases. When multiple cases were noted for the issue, they failed in taking an action as this was not a relevant prototype for crisis cases. This was an appropriate example of occurrences in contemporary world of work where people fails in recognising the wellbeing of others and end up using scripts in showing empathy.

Similar to Søiland (2021) findings, the occurrence of scrips are as a result of a repetitive phenomenon evident in a working environment.  The case recommended on the need to embrace on modernised technologies for elimination of the significantly routine tasks. Despite of such a practice having a negative implication as highlighted by Daily Oklahoman Newspaper of Oklahoma City cross-train. There were errors evident owing to human behaviours. Hence, there is a need for initiating appropriate approaches for mitigating such ethical lapses. With this, there would be no instances where a good person is noted to be doing bad things.

Problem 2: Distractions Similar to what the scripts……..

Please click the icon below to access this assessment in full