Donald C. Langevoort
Research in psychology and organizational behavior under the heading of “behavioral ethics” is growing rapidly, offering new insights into how people (individually and in groups) choose whether to comply with legal and ethical norms. In legal scholarship, a robust literature is emerging on the subject organizational compliance, as public enforcers become more insistent that corporations build and maintain state-of-the-art systems. This chapter joins these two bodies of research, demonstrating the potential payoffs—and challenges—in using a behavioral frame of reference to assess compliance risks, design appropriate interventions, and communicate more effectively about both law and ethics with corporate managers and other employees. Just as compliance requires good economics skills, it requires psychological savvy as well, to help predict how incentives and compliance messages will be processed, construed and acted upon in the field.