Obedience to authority and susceptibility to peer pressure. The desire to fit into an organization, to be a team player, to get along with co-employees, people are more likely to undertake unethical actions in the workplace and elsewhere if peers are engaging in similar behaviour.
Overoptimism and overconfidence
People tend to rate themselves as well above average in most traits, including honesty. Businesspeople tend to believe that they are more ethical than their competitors, and studies show that most auditors believe that they will act more ethically than their peers. Overconfidence in one’s own ethical compass can lead people to accept their own decisions without any serious moral reflection. For example, overconfidence in one’s ability to perform an audit can lead to taking short-cuts that might look unethical in retrospect. People’s overconfidence in themselves translates into overconfidence in the ethical correctness of their acts and judgments.
Self-serving bias unconsciously affect the information that people seek out, causing them to search for confirming rather than disconfirming evidence, it also affects how they process that information. Thus, when psychologists give a relatively ambiguous document to two groups of people holding opposing views, members of each side tend to interpret the document as supporting their point of view. The self-serving bias even affects how people remember information. Studies show that people are more likely to recall evidence that supports their point of view than evidence that opposes it. People involved in negotiations tend to remember information that supports their bargaining position more than information that undermines it. The audit process often requires recall of information and is thus inevitably affected by this aspect of the self-serving bias. Inevitably, subjective judgments of fairness are also affected by the...