HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, HBS


Rather than try to follow a set of simple rules (“Don’t lie.” “Don’t cheat.”), leaders and managers seeking to be more ethical should focus on creating the most value for society. This utilitarian view, Bazerman argues, blends philosophical thought with business school pragmatism and can inform a wide variety of managerial decisions in areas including hiring, negotiations, and even time management. Creating value requires that managers confront and overcome the cognitive barriers that prevent them from being as ethical as they would like to be. Just as we rely on System 1 (intuitive) and System 2 (deliberative) thinking, he says, we have parallel systems for ethical decision-making. He proposes strategies for engaging the deliberative one in order to make more-ethical choices. Managers who care about the value they create can influence others throughout the organization by means of the norms and decision-making environment they create.


Bazerman, Max. "A New Model for Ethical Leadership." Harvard Business Review 98.5 (September–October 2020): 90-97.