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Ann Arbor Spark

Positive Links Speaker Series: Ethical Learning and Character Development

Tuesday, January 25 2022 at 1:00pm - 2:00pm

The Positive Links Speaker Series, presented by Michigan Ross’ Center for Positive Organizations, offers inspiring and practical science-based strategies to build and bolster thriving organizations. Attendees learn from leading positive organizational scholars and connect with our community of academics, students, staff, and leaders.  

About the talk: 

Individuals’ experiences at work can provide the opportunity for them to become a better person, in all aspects of their life. Instead of helping workers make more ethical decisions in the moment, organizations can and should create environments that help them become more ethical people in the long run.  

In her talk, Maryam Kouchaki will present a bottom-up approach to ethics, focusing on what individuals can do for themselves to take ownership over their moral development at work. She will also talk about a top-down approach to helping workers develop moral character at work, focusing on what organizations can do to create a workplace environment conducive to ethical learning.   

Taken together, these bottom-up and top-down approaches highlight the potential role of the workplace as a moral laboratory that allows individuals to engage in an ongoing process of ethical learning, to find the opportunities and support they need to learn, grow, and further develop their moral character.  

About Kouchaki: 

Maryam Kouchaki is an Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at Kellogg School of Management. She is an organizational psychologist who seeks to understand everyday moral encounters, particularly at work. Her research is organized around two conceptual themes that involve 1) understanding the dynamic nature of moral decision-making and 2) understanding how individuals psychologically experience everyday moral encounters. Maryam examines these with a particular emphasis on the consequences of these encounters for individuals and groups. Across a series of articles, she has uncovered novel and often counterintuitive forces that continually create widespread unethicality. Notably, she offers evidence that everyday moral encounters cannot be fully understood without a thorough consideration of the individual’s psychological experience of them.  

She is the editor-in-chief of journal of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Her work has appeared in scholarly publications such as Proceedings of National Academy of SciencesAcademy of Management JournalJournal of Personality and Social PsychologyOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Psychological Science, and has been featured in media outlets such as the Harvard Business ReviewNew York TimesBusiness WeekWall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, and BBC world radio. Maryam was also named to Poets and Quants 2020 list of Best 40 Under 40 Professors. 


Gretchen Spreitzer, Associate Dean for Engaged Learning and Professional Development; Keith E. and Valerie J. Alessi Professor of Business Administration; Professor of Management and Organizations  

Series Sponsors: 

The Center for Positive Organizations thanks Sanger Leadership CenterTauber Institute for Global OperationsSamuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, and Diane (BA ‘73) and Paul (MBA ‘75) Jones for their support of the 2021-22 Positive Links Speaker Series. 

Series Promotional Partners: 

Additionally, we thank Ann Arbor SPARK and the Managerial and Organizational Cognition (MOC) Division of the Academy of Management for their Positive Links Speaker Series promotional partnerships.