The Invisible Gorilla

  • øyvind Kvalnes
Open Access


Concentration on a particular task can take away our ability to attend to important nuances of a situation. Aspects that are supremely notable and present to outsiders can be invisible to the hard working and deeply concentrated insiders. This chapter argues that moral blindness in organizations can occur when people develop routine ways of looking at things and gradually fail to see moral aspects of their own conduct. Workplace incentives have a significant impact on how employees see reality in their organizations, and can make moral dimensions of the activity become blurred and invisible. Generous bonuses can speed up moral neutralization and make initial misgivings about goals and methods at work disappear from view. Even people with excellent abilities in ethical analysis and with the most dependable and stable character traits are vulnerable in this respect. A crucial element in ethics in organizations should therefore be to establish communication climates that encourage people to speak up when they observe what appears to be morally dubious conduct in their own working environment.

Copyright information

© øyvind Kvalnes 2015

Open Access This Chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • øyvind Kvalnes
    • 1
  1. 1.BI Norwegian Business SchoolNorway

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