Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology; The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya
Three Principles to REVISE People’s Unethical Behavior
Dishonesty and unethical behavior are widespread in the public and private sectors and cause immense annual losses. For instance, estimates of U.S. annual losses indicate $1 trillion paid in bribes, $270 billion lost due to unreported income, and $42 billion lost in retail due to shoplifting and employee theft. In this article, we draw on insights from the growing fields of moral psychology and behavioral ethics to present a three-principle framework we call REVISE. This framework classifies forces that affect dishonesty into three main categories and then redirects those forces to encourage moral behavior. The first principle, reminding, emphasizes the effectiveness of subtle cues that increase the salience of morality and decrease people’s ability to justify dishonesty. The second principle, visibility, aims to restrict anonymity, prompt peer monitoring, and elicit responsible norms. The third principle, self-engagement, increases people’s motivation to maintain a positive self-perception as a moral person and helps bridge the gap between moral values and actual behavior. The REVISE framework can guide the design of policy interventions to defeat dishonesty.