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Review of Albert Bandura’s book on Moral Disengagement

Laszlo Zsolnai published a review of world-renowned psychologist Albert Bandura’s
book “Moral Disengagement: How People Do Harm and Live with Themselves” (New York, Macmillan, 2016) in Business Ethics Quarterly (2016, DOI:

Albert Bandura (1925-2021)

Bandura has discovered a number of psycho-social mechanisms by which moral control can be selectively disengaged from detrimental conduct. These mechanisms of moral disengagement enable otherwise considerate people to commit transgressive acts without experiencing personal distress and guilt. People “fool themselves” in order to “fool others”.

In his book Bandura extensively documents how moral disengagement mechanisms are at work in major spheres of life in the USA and beyond: gun manufacturers, the entertainment industry, tobacco companies, finance and banking, terrorism, climate science, and more. The large body of evidence presented by Bandura has important implications for the naive belief that the market will provide sufficient incentives to encourage morally responsible conduct.