Why Do Good People Do Bad Things?

University House
Tuesday 24 May 2016 (17:30-20:30)

Following on from our discussion on ‘Does Marketing Have a Soul?’ in October 2014, and ‘Can Marketing Be Ethical?’ in April 2015, we now pose the question ‘Why do good people do bad things?’  Professor Minette (Meme) Drumwright, Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations, Moody College of Communications/ Department of Business, Government and Society, McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin will reflect on her research and practice to discuss this question. 

The Department of Marketing at Birmingham Business School, invite you join us at our event on Tuesday the 24th of May 2016 from 17.30 until 20.30.  The session will be chaired by Finola Kerrigan, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at University of Birmingham and Professor N. Craig Smith (University of Birmingham/ INSEAD) will act as discussant Following this there will be plenty of opportunity for questions and discussions.



Why do good people do bad things?  That is, how do well intended people make bad decisions and get caught up in ethical problems and even scandals. Acting with integrity can be difficult even for people with good intentions who want to do the right thing.  Meme Drumwright has written about two reasons that people have ethical lapses—moral myopia and moral muteness.   Moral myopia is a distortion of moral vision that keeps moral issues from coming clearly into focus.  People with moral muteness just don’t talk about moral issues.  They either do not voice moral sentiments, or they communicate in ways that obscure their moral beliefs and commitments.

How is it that this blindness and muteness exist?  How can smart people miss these things that should be so apparent? Drawing on her research and the research of others, Drumwright will explain how good people develop moral myopia and moral muteness. She will also talk about how business people can develop moral sensitivity and moral imagination—the ability to think outside the box and see ethical alternatives that others do not see.


17.30-17.45: Registration in The Atrium, University House

17.45-19.15: Presentations and discussion

19.15-20.30: Drinks reception


Speaker: Minette (Meme) Drumwright is Associate Professor, Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations, Moody College of Communications/ Department of Business, Government and Society, McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.  She was previously an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School and a senior lecturer in the U.T. Marketing Department. Her current research involves studies of social responsibility in business, particularly in marketing and advertising.  Her research interests also include services marketing, marketing strategy, and business ethics and she has written articles and cases for leading journals such as Journal of Marketing and Marketing Letters as well as contributing to various influential books.  She has previously worked in advertising and public relations and has taught in corporate executive education programmes in Mexico, Asia and the US. 

Discussant: N. Craig Smith is the INSEAD Chaired Professor of Ethics and Social Responsibility at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France and a visiting professor to the Birmingham Business Scholl Marketing Department.  Craig has considerable experience having previously been on the faculties of London Business School, Georgetown University and Harvard Business School. His research is at the intersection of business and society, encompassing business/marketing ethics, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability. Craig’s current research projects explore stakeholder judgments of value in the context of stakeholder theory, the effects of corporate social responsibility on employees, norm-making as an extension of integrative social contract theory, integrating ethics within creating shared value frameworks, and sustainable consumption. His recent work has appeared in Business Ethics QuarterlyJournal of Business EthicsJournal of Consumer PsychologyJournal of MarketingJournal of Public Policy & Marketing, and MIT Sloan Management Review.

Chair: Dr Finola Kerrigan is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham and previously worked at King's College London and University of Hertfordshire.  Finola’s research is concerned with marketing issues within the creative industries. To date this research has focused on the film industry supply chain, celebrity branding, social media, branding and arts consumption. Finola has given seminars on arts marketing and consumption at universities across Europe, the US, Australia and Asia and has presented her work to various professional audiences in the film and visual art industries.  She has written and edited a number of books including Film Marketing (2010) and Rethinking Arts Marketing (2010) and has published widely in international journals.  She is associate editor of the Journal of Marketing Management, President of the International Society for Markets and Development as well as on the editorial boards of a number of international journals.   She has published her work in a range of leading marketing journals such as European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Mangement, Marketing Theory and the International Journal of Research in Marketing.