Women lead: Ann Tenbrunsel

The power to lead is the power to transform. Notre Dame is proud to celebrate women whose scholarship and leadership are leaving an indelible imprint on the global community. This is an excerpt from one of six profiles featured on womenlead.nd.edu.

Ann Tenbrunsel

Ann Tenbrunsel
Mendoza College of Business
David E. Gallo Professor of Business Ethics

Much of Ann Tenbrunsel’s research focuses on the gap between how people say they’ll act and how they truly act in the moment of truth. Tenbrunsel calls these gaps “blind spots,” and her book by the same title takes a deep dive into how they arise and what to do about them.

“It’s not that people don’t have values,” Tenbrunsel says, “but they fail to account for the strain on these values in the moment of decision.” Tenbrunsel frames this tension as the difference between the “should self,” which predicts how a person will act in a given situation based on the values they espouse, and the “want self,” which is typically silent during this planning phase but emerges forcefully at the time of action, reminding the person of their own self-interest and desire. Most people believe they will do the right thing, but few realize the wide array of influencers that will be present when it comes time to act: fear, anger, fatigue, expediency, potential for wealth and more. “All of that leads to what we call ethical fading at the time of the decision,” Tenbrunsel explains. ...

Last spring, Tenbrunsel convened the Inequality, Trust and Ethics conference at the Notre Dame London Global Gateway, bringing together academicians from across the globe to discuss the intersection of the title topics on behaviors exhibited in and outside of business. ...

“At Notre Dame, I don't have to ‘sell’ this approach or argue for its legitimacy,” she says. “It is embraced as a concept fundamental to our mission. One only need look at the number of faculty, centers, institutes and conferences examining ethical issues to get an idea of the extent to which scholarly research on this topic is embedded here.”

Read the full profile.

Related stories|

Originally published by Office of Strategic Content at news.nd.edu on March 08, 2016.