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Evolutionary Psychology and Business Ethics Research

  • David M. Wasieleski and Sefa Hayibor

In this article, we describe evolutionary psychology and its potential contribution to business ethics research. After summarizing evolutionary theory and natural selection, we specifically address the use of evolutionary concepts in psychology in order to offer alternative explanations of behavior relevant to business ethics, such as social exchange, cooperation, altruism, and reciprocity. Our position is that individuals, groups, and organizations all are affected by similar natural, evolutionary processes, such that evolutionary psychology is applicable at multiple levels of analysis (e.g., individual and group). We introduce a variety of experiments and instruments employed by evolutionary psychologists to illustrate how ethics-relevant cultural norms and practices evolve and are regulated, and to raise the prospect that these experiments and instruments can be useful in future business ethics research.

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Business Ethics Quarterly
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