Quotation Noval, Laura. 2015. The Role of Affective Forecasting Errors in Ethical Decision Making. Academy of Management Annual Meeting AOM, Vancouver, Canada, 07.08-11.08.




In this paper, I propose that individuals often engage in unethical behavior to obtain certain outcomes, such as a promotion or a bonus (e.g., Kern & Chugh, 2009), because they overestimate how well those outcomes will make them feel (or how bad it would feel failing to obtain such outcomes). An important body of literature shows that individuals overestimate the intensity and duration of the emotional impact of future outcomes, an effect that is referred to as affective forecasting error (Wilson & Gilbert, 2005). Through three empirical studies, this article shows that errors of affective forecasting – and specifically, focalism – lead individuals to overestimate the impact that outcomes will have on their well-being; and in turn, these errors increase the likelihood individuals will engage in unethical behavior to ensure the obtaining of such overvalued outcomes. In addition, the studies show that by reducing focalism and inducing individuals to make more moderate and accurate affective forecasts, unethical behavior can be prevented. Implications for research in behavioral ethics and practice in organizations are discussed.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Paper presented at an academic conference or symposium
Language English
Title The Role of Affective Forecasting Errors in Ethical Decision Making
Event Academy of Management Annual Meeting AOM
Year 2015
Date 07.08-11.08
Country Canada
Location Vancouver


Noval, Laura (Former researcher)
Institute for International Business (Stahl) (Details)
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