Every time there is a new ethics scandal, whether in a university or some other setting (such as in government or the corporate world), observers wonder how those involved could have been so stupid. Could they really have done the things of which they are accused? If so, what were they thinking?
In fact, there are three precipitating factors for ethics scandals that practically guarantee that they will not be going away anytime soon. The three factors are foolishness, the complexity of ethical reasoning, and ethical drift, which I discuss in turn.
Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2011/11/09/essay-why-smart-people-make-foolish-ethical-choices#ixzz1dLKWYdlv
Inside Higher Ed