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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Unethical Decision Making in Organizations by University of Lausanne

384 ratings

About the Course

This course 'Unethical decision making in organizations : A seminar on the dark side of the force' will teach you how strong organizational contexts push good people towards unethical decisions. You will also learn how to protect yourself and your organization against such forces lurking in the dark. About the Course This course teaches how narrow frames and strong contexts can push good people towards unethical decisions and how they can protect themselves and their organization against ethical blindness. The goal of this course is to empower the participants to analyze the risks of unethical or illegal behavior that might be triggered by powerful contexts. It draws from various disciplines such as management, psychology, sociology, philosophy, and literature, in order to learn what these disciplines contribute to a better understanding of unethical behavior. The course also analyzes some of the most prominent organizational scandals of the recent decades through the lenses of these disciplines. Whenever we hear about ethical scandals, we tend to believe that unethical or illegal behaviour in organizations is driven by character deficiencies of individual actors. Put differently, we simply assume that bad things are done by bad people. However, numerous corporate scandals have demonstrated that even people with a high level of integrity can break the rules if they are put into a strong context. A better understanding of why and under what conditions good people make bad ethical decisions will enable us to better protect individuals as well as their respective organizations against the potentially overwhelming power of the context. It will also enable us to cure societies from problems like corruption. At the end of the course, you are able to: 1. Explain the impact of social context on individual decision making using various theories (from Management, Sociology, Psychology, and Philosophy) 2. Apply these theories to the analysis of some of the most eminent organizational scandals of the recent decades 3. Assess risks of ethical blindness in your own organizational context 4. Design interventions to reduce such risks for yourself and your organization Recommended Background No background expertise is required. The course is open for interested layperson as well as experts who work on related topics, be it as researchers or practitioners (e.g., compliance managers in corporations). Why is this course important for me? Currently, the understanding of why good people make unethical decisions is rather limited, related research is rather fragmented, and the management of such problems in organizations is overly simplistic, legalistic, and inadequate. Understanding contexts, including the dangers of routines, the mindlessness of our daily decisions, and the healing power of mindful decision-making routines is of increasing importance. In this course, you will learn the latest knowledge and the appropriate tool box for dealing with ethical challenges that you will face throughout your life! What do I need to follow this course? We build bridges between various scientific disciplines and will familiarize you with those disciplines smoothly. You need no expertise, just come and share your own real-world experiences about unethical decisions. After all, we are all experts in making decisions—some more ethically, some less ethically—aren’t we?...

Top reviews


Jul 29, 2017

i am faculty in an engineer college in vizag. I teach Professional ethics to the undergraduate student. Your course content is extremely useful. Thanks for provide great contents


Mar 31, 2022

It brought me new perspectives on wrongdoing, and it will help me to indentity and prevent causes of unethical decision making. Thank you for the opportunity!

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1 - 25 of 140 Reviews for Unethical Decision Making in Organizations

By Syed M B S

Jun 17, 2019

It is an excellent course which should be taught to everyone definitely. It is a course that really changes the way one thinks, and allows one to see through various veils that are creating problems in the long run.


Dec 20, 2017

One of the best online courses that I see. Topic is well prepared and supported with many case studies. I really enjoyed this course and benefited.

By James M

Apr 24, 2017

Excellent course that really opens your eyes to ethics and the power of contexts. Instructors were excellent. I would highly recommend this course.

By Alyshah

May 27, 2018

Great course! Could be done at any level of education. Very detailed & descriptive, with amazing theoretical as well as real life examples

By Manuel E L d S A

Sep 5, 2018

a surprising course, very useful with relevant practical information and tools for reflexion. about the teachers only a word : FANTASTIC

By Tai T Y

Jul 9, 2018

Straight-forward, practical and powerful introductory course on ethics in decision-making context.

By Nancy F

Sep 5, 2018

I really liked this course! It helped to spell out in words what I have observed. Weeks 1 to 6 go into great details about the problems and are really very helpful. I however think that there is room for improvement of week 7: it is too abridged, too superficial, a bit abstract. Week 7 did not answer all my questions about the ways to fight the cases of unethical decision making that I have witnessed while feeling powerless. I think that there is room for elaborating on solutions. But don't get me wrong: the course is really excellent and worth taking.

By Amelia M

Sep 26, 2019

An interesting introduction into business psychology and ethics. Some good examples and exploration into recognising triggers and environmental factors leading to unethical decision making. Information on counter-strategies is lightweight and could be improved though.

By Oh P S

Sep 11, 2020

Ethnics have been an important topic in the accounting industry since Enron case. For most accounting professionals, ethnics refresher course have been one of the requirement to constantly remind ourselves of this dimension.

Of all the ethical courses that i have attended, this stands out as it clearly explains why people goes down makes unethical decisions. It is a stark reminder that you and i under certain environment can likely make the wrong decision if certain conditions are met.

It will give people courage to say "NO" in a questionable situation.

By Denise A

Jun 4, 2017

Everyone in the world who works which is almost everyone on earth unless you are born into wealth and you don't have to work....but everyone else should take this course and watch it over and over again because this is hugely important to making the world a better place. If I were a manager of a company I would do this course with all my company. We don't have enough of this. It talks very efficiently about unethical problems and it offers concrete solutions. One of the best courses I have taken so far in Coursera. THANK YOU!!

By Romanenko Y A

Jul 6, 2022

Once I noticed a course about ethical decision-making in a list of courses related to antifraud and compliance on Coursera, but as it seemed to be "too much psychological" (subjectively boring) I shelved it for better times. It took 2 years, "better" times in general meaning did not happen - but a full scale war of russia in Ukraine did, so studying social psychology become much more obviously actual and today I finally would like to share that really great course - "Unethical decision making in organizations" - with everybody who is looking for answers what the hell is going on, how come bad things could be done by good people (bad ones are not so interesting), how to protect yourself, your organization and thus society from that. You will find there the easiest explanations of such concepts like ethical dilemma, framing effect, ethical blindness, strong situation, will review a set of heuristics in people’s adaptive toolbox, will see how strong context, language and different types of pressure influenced decision-making at famous failures at giant organizations (Ford, Enron, NASA and others) and more.  Additional materials to course's topics should be noted too, the most important for me was an essay "Power of Powerless", written by Checkoslovakian dissident V. Gavel in 1978 about the post-totalitarian regime of Soviet Union - how it influenced people's behavior, how weak it was and why it looked vise-versa - strongly recommend to all people suffering from totalitarian institutions (or its parody). Though the documentary “Four Horsemen” with critic of capitalism will be not less interesting too. I guess such courses have to be mandatory for all kind of managers, especially recent years when people trust businesses more than governments.

By David S

Jun 3, 2017

Excellent designed course with very comprehensive presentation of key issues of unethical behavior in corporate environment. Very good examples demonstrating a particular ethical issues and its consequences. The course helps to understand already known compliance instruments and what could be done for their improvement. For instance, it makes clear why tone on the top is important for building healthy corporate culture, which is often formally declared as an important element in companies, but very often its importance underestimated.

By Katarzyna B

Apr 8, 2020

Course was very detailed and contained tons of theoretical but still useful information on business ethics. Very useful for a person who works in compliance, audit, FCPA and any kind of anti-corruption regulatory department.

The only downside is final assessment process - the length of a certificate obtaining process is indeed dependable on the amount of other participants in the course at the moment. If there are no other participants to assess final essay, one can wait for weeks.

Overall very good course and I highly recommend it!

By Mike W

May 1, 2018

A really useful introduction to a subject which sometimes receives insufficient attention in mainstream degree courses, or other professional training opportunities. The course content was comprehensive and engaging. Very helpful in informing my thinking as an executive in a government agency on how to remain alert to risks of ethical blindness, and how to best construct ethical guard rails to help keep my CEO and the wider organisation safe from the potential for unethical conduct in our complex workplace.

By Kamila N

Nov 12, 2021

This is a great course providing insights into the background of unethical decisions, the role of different factors leading to unethical decisions, ways to protect oneself and one's organisation. Very engaging and inspiring. Two drawbacks: One is the waiting time for peer review of the final assignment, in my case more than 5 weeks from submission. Two: Upon successful completion, I did not received the promised certificate and did not find any download option on the course page.

By Isis V

Dec 5, 2020

Decision making has always been important, and in these times it is even more so.

Making decisions is linked to consequences and results. It is necessary to recognize how character development, leadership and environment play important roles and influence decision making. Being aware of how we make decisions personally and in our organizations allows us to be more effective.

It gives us the opportunity to help ourselves and others. Wonderful course, thank you!

By catia l

Apr 23, 2021

Ce cours est extrêmement inspirant! Les professeurs Palazzo et Hoffrage donnent des exemples réels ainsi que des outils concrets pour éviter, voire contrer les risques liés à l'éthique dans nos décisions personnelles et professionnelles.

Cette formation devrait être intégrée dans tous les cursus professionnels, qu'ils soient opérationnels ou managériaux.

Je le recommande vivement!

By Fichtberger O

Nov 8, 2016

I really apreciated this course. It was my first experience with coursera. I did a lot of peer review and saw that a lot of my "classmates" used a lot more than the 1000 allowed words. The texts of the videos should be in another format than just "*.txt" because thus they are quite hard to read... But beside this I learned a lot.

By Michael S

Nov 14, 2021

The course is very good, covering philosophical foundation of ethics and real-life challenges and experiences. Quizzes and essay tasks are well thought through. To improve: make some of the reading material accessible as some are protected by a pay-wall. And, there are small typos and minor pronunciation hiccups. Best, Michael

By Martin F

Feb 4, 2019

The course provide very good introduction to unethical decision-making, referring to many practical examples. Moreover, the course introduces the ethical blidness concept and tools for analyzing this blidness in every company. The course is higly recommended to those dealing with decision-making.

By Kirsten W

May 12, 2019

In comparison to other online courses this one is very diverting: excellent edutainment. The content is well selected and structurized. I enjoyed the lessons. My knowledge and sensitivity for un-ethical issues, esp. dilemmas, is broader and I am able to act more mindful. Thank you.

By Oriol G i R

Mar 1, 2017

Great course, with interesting contents and new approaches to be used in our daily life. Understanding constellations is much beyond the standard "carrot and stick" policy, making organisations more stable.

Thanks Guido and Ulrich for your time and commitment to this course!!!!

By Jason T

Jul 14, 2017

Excellent, so many good case studies and a consistent metaphor used throughout. This is how business ethics should be explained to management. Because it also provides supporting arguments for improving your ethics, may just, actually improve your business longevity. :)

By Guillaume B

Sep 23, 2016

I already participated in 2015 but was unable to complete the course (made around 25%) due to lack of time to follow the lessons. I remember having learned a lot and read interesting "stories/experiences" from other students in the course forums. Highly recommended.

By Isabella A

Apr 29, 2020

Great course, a very important issue, analyzed through practical cases and with a lot of theories. Just one observation: sometimes difficult for not mother tongue people, especially in the texts as you have to chose among slightly different shades....