about me

why do good people in organizations engage in morally inappropriate, toxic, criminal, and even violent behavior?

I am Guido Palazzo, a professor of business ethics at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and exploring the dark side of the force is my passion.

We know that bad people do bad things, because they are bad people. We sometimes call them the “bad apples.” However, systematic immoral and illegal behavior cannot be explained by the character flaws of a few individual leaders with criminal energy. In many scandals, hundreds, if not thousands of people participated actively, looked the other way, or at least remained silent. Consequently, the much more important question is why good people do bad thing.

I have been analyzing epic ethical failures of organizations in the last two decades, from Enron to Volkswagen, from Boeing to Theranos, from Wells Fargo to France Telecom. What I found is a returning pattern of context factors that push normal people over the ethical edge. The problem is the barrel, not some bad apples. The organization, not some evil individuals.

Finding the dark pattern and bringing light into the darkness is my mission. In my programs I have worked with thousands of leaders around the world to sensitize them for that pattern and helped them to promote a climate of integrity in their own organizations.

what people say

“Very powerful”