Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics

Living Edition
| Editors: Deborah C Poff, Alex C. Michalos

Behavioral Ethics and Euphemisms

  • Todd Haugh
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-23514-1_198-1



Behavioral ethics is the social scientific study of ethical and unethical behavior. The field occupies a space distinct from normative or legal approaches to ethics, which explore how individuals should behave, and instead aims to understand through empirical study how individuals actually do behave in ethical contexts and why.

Euphemisms are the substitution of words or phrases that evoke negative psychological effects. Euphemisms operate by making harmful conduct less so, thereby reducing personal responsibility for it. Euphemisms are often described as a process of moral disengagement, but a more accurate description from a behavioral ethics standpoint is that they are an aid to rationalization. Rationalizations, the psychological mechanism by which individuals internally verbalize justifications for future unethical or illegal acts so as to keep their...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG (outside the USA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kelley School of Business/The Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American InstitutionsIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Joshua E. Perry
    • 1
  1. 1.Kelley School of BusinessIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA