March 11, 2-3:30 p.m., BN-4000
The Role of Cognitive Biases in Ethical Decision-making about Climate Change
We are living a climate change enigma. While there is a great sense of urgency in the scientific community to act now in order to slow the imminent negative effects of global warming, most organizations continue to run their operations as though the external context has not changed significantly. More troubling are corporate decisions that deliberately thwart or stall positive climate change action. In this paper, we argue that one of the main reasons behind organizational unsustainable behavior in general and climate change inertia in particular lies in the cognitive biases at play in the decision-making processes at most companies. More specifically, we find that the existing discourse around climate change prevents it from being recognized as a moral issue thus preventing individuals from engaging in ethical decision-making processes and ultimately in implementing more sustainable solutions. In order to tackle this enigma, we review existing ethical decision-making models and make our argument for climate change as a moral issue. We then elaborate on the cognitive biases that affect managers’ perceptions of the moral intensity of climate change and provide a broad range of research-driven successful mitigating interventions. In this manner, we hope to contribute to both the academic literature on cognitive biases and ethical decision-making as well as provide solutions which can be applied directly to practice.
Dr. Daina Mazutis is an assistant professor of strategy at the University of Ottawa where she also holds a professorship in ethics, responsibility and sustainability (ERS). Dr. Mazutis’s research examines the relationship between leadership and corporate social responsibility - specifically the role of executive orientation in shaping business strategies involving social and environmental issues. Her work is published, or is forthcoming, in several edited books as well as peer-reviewed journals such as: Academy of Management Learning and Education, Annals of Social Responsibility, Business Horizons, Business & Society, Journal of Business Ethics and Management Learning. Dr. Mazutis has also presented extensively at international conferences where her work has been honoured with several prestigious awards. Prior to joining the University of Ottawa, she was a professor of strategy, leadership and ethics at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. Dr. Mazutis holds a master of business administration (MBA) from the University of Ottawa and a PhD from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario.