chapter  11
26 Pages

From Theory to Practice: Messick and Morality

WithKevin W. Gibson, J. Keith Murnighan

High-stakes business decisions present unique challenges, including the need to balance rationality, relevance, and, occasionally, ethics and morality. Practically speaking, decision-makers must be able to identify both pertinent information and defensible choices. General observations of this process suggest that decision-makers often appear to use unsophisticated and sometimes inconsistent moral reasoning. We show that insights from recent social psychology can help to resolve this potential conundrum. More specifically, our chapter addresses the underpinnings of rational choice theory, identifies some of the conditions when and some of the reasons why decision-makers are so fallible, and, finally, illustrates how a set of initial assumptions can lead to more systematic business decisions.