Ann Tenbrunsel, Medical Xpress, May 17, 2019.
Why don't good people report bad things?
By the time the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in October 2017, my co-authors, McKenzie Rees of Southern Methodist University and Kristina Diekmann of the University of Utah, and I had already been knee-deep in reviewing more than 200 research articles on the topic of sexual harassment for almost two years.
Our review eventually would become our paper, "Sexual Harassment in Academia: Ethical Climates and Bounded Ethicality," published in the Annual Review of Psychology. At the time, there wasn't a whole lot of research focused on just academia, so we drew broadly on sexual harassment research, identifying those features of academia that corresponded with some of the factors in organizational settings.
We examined the issue through a particular lens—that of ethics, or more specifically, behavioral ethics, which is important for reasons I'll discuss later on. More specifically, we considered the problem of sexual harassment from the perspective of bounded ethicality, which refers to the systematic and predictable ways in which people engage in unethical acts without their own awareness that they are doing anything wrong. We looked at the ethical climates and cognitive processes that influenced sexual harassment at the individual, leadership, organizational and broader environment in an effort to explain why the behavior happens and when it is reported.