Social constructivism, mental models, and the problems of obedience
In this article, written with Hartman, Moberg, Parmar, Englehardt and Pritchard (2011), the authors argue that one of the problems of obedience to authority as depicted in the Milgram experiments, and later reiterated in many managerial scenarios such as the 2016 Volkswagen scandal, is the lack of moral imagination as well as lack of moral courage. Thus, corporate wrongdoing, such as falsifying software in diesel autos as VW did with its "defeat" technology, results in a harmful, deceitful and expensive outcome both for shareholders and stakeholders, particularly individual customers. Questioning or challenging a corporate culture – or even a single managerial directive – that seems wrong requires a well-developed moral imagination as well as well-honed arguments as the basis of any such questions or challenges.Original publication: Werhane, P.H., Hartman, L.P., Moberg, D., Englehardt, E., Pritchard, M. & Parmar, B. "Social Constructivism, Mental Models, and the Problem of Obedience." Journal of Business Ethics (2011) 100: 103–118. ©2011 Reprinted with permission.
Werhane, P. (2019)., Social constructivism, mental models, and the problems of obedience, in D. Bevan & R. W. Wolfe (eds.), Systems thinking and moral imagination, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 145-166.
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