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(2019) Systems thinking and moral imagination, Dordrecht, Springer.

The rashomon effect

Patricia Werhane

pp. 335-343

In this article, Werhane addresses those concerned with ethical reporting and decision-making, and demonstrates extensively how in taking a particular perspective we affect or color the reporting of an event or experience. Werhane uses the Japanese film, Rashomon (Kurosawa 1950), as the focus of her deconstruction. This film tells the story of an event as reported through the experience of four different participants. Each resulting narrative depicts the event and its outcomes differently such that one account seems to contradict another. Werhane employs the film as an analogy for ethical scenarios and management case study narratives. Any particular version of a narrative can become informally fixed as the prototype for subsequent versions even when the information as depicted in the prototype narrative has not been verified. This clearly affects, or even distorts, the reporting of many facts set out in the original event. How the company was involved, either positively or negatively, who was responsible for any fault or incident, and how the case is taught are all nuanced by this Rashomon effect. The Rashomon effect continues to be relevant as a means of critically considering the way in which information is presented.Original publication: Werhane, Patricia H. "The Rashomon Effect." In Perspectives in Business Ethics, edited by Laura Pincus, 189–97. New York: Irwin/McGraw-Hill, 1997. ©1997 Reprinted with permission.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-89797-4_19

Full citation:

Werhane, P. (2019)., The rashomon effect, in D. Bevan & R. W. Wolfe (eds.), Systems thinking and moral imagination, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 335-343.

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