MPA Council had its second annual ethics week on October 21st through 25th in conjunction with the university wide Integrity-UT week. During this week, MPA Council hosted multiple events, including a screening of the movie Wall Street, an ethics lecture led by Professor Robert Prentice, and an ethics discussion for students.
My personal favorite event was Professor Prentice’s lecture, and the points he brought up will stay with me for some time to come and hopefully will lead me to make ethical decisions in my career.
He opened the lecture by pointing out that, as individuals, we tend to think we are one person who acts a certain way based on our original personalities. However, research shows that our decisions are heavily influenced by our environments and these environments can even change our personalities.
Money especially can have a huge impact on the decisions we make. Professor Prentice showed multiple academic researches that showed people behaved much more selfishly and minimized the concerns of other people in their decision when prompted with money.
Morality is something we consider when dealing with other people, and as money takes us farther away from the consequences to others, we are less likely to make ethical decisions.
Other things can also influence our decision making, such as the colors present in our immediate environment and the actions of others around us.