Alexander Wagner: What really motivates people to be honest in business
Alexander Wagner - Economist
Alexander Wagner balances two passions: the thrill of seeking knowledge about fundamentals of human behavior for knowledge's sake, and the desire to apply insights in the real world and to improve the workings of markets and organizations. Full bio
have you interacted with today?
that you work for or that you own.
at least seven companies
large, public corporations
that looks at US companies --
that it's different in Europe.
at both detected and undetected fraud
the shareholders of these companies,
380 billion dollars per year.
aren't quite so secret anymore.
of the American Finance Association
in his presidential address.
if you think about, especially,
put into its financial industry.
who actually remain honest
to start engaging in fraud.
like Michael Woodford,
about their companies.
like Anna Politkovskaya
to report human rights violations.
to bring out the truth.
some insights I've obtained and learned
of conducting research in this.
a scientist working with economists,
what makes humans tick,
of fraud in corporations
to the improvement of the world.
two very distinct visions
behaves in their own self-interests,
a narrowly defined concept
self-interested move here
all this beautiful tableware.
disregard all consequences --
might not behave in this way.
and costs of our actions.
according to that code of conduct,
of getting a bonus payment.
if you disregard it,
of not getting your bonus
the corporation's principles.
powerful economic force, right?
trust us more in the future.
out of his benevolence
more future bread.
who get caught up in media,
because he's a good dog.
all this beautiful tableware.
are motivated like that,
and bonus systems and so on,
by different values perhaps.
have perfect hairdos,
very different views of the world.
to address this issue.
which are confusing in reality.
there is so much going on,
what drives people's behavior really.
like the one I'm holding up right now
terminal in front of you,
that you had a tails throw,
you get paid zero francs.
in that situation?
and look to your right --
the person sitting next to you
at the university
and it's a fair coin,
that it comes up four times tails
of them are tails is much lower
who did not say I had four tails throws,
if you say four than less.
by announcing zero.
the other people all were honest
higher or lower than what they did
and here's another coin toss.
like Adam Smith would have predicted.
by certain intrinsic values
so-called protected values.
where you're willing to pay a price
to withstand the temptation to give in.
that's consistent with your values.
in the metaphor of our beloved dog here.
without violating our values,
we actually violate values,
predictive in these experiments.
of the population
a distribution around it --
we all are different.
above the average,
by lying by about 25 percent.
for them to behave honestly.
all these beautiful values, right?
that richness in human nature
the workings of our organizations.
very, very different visions here.
to behave according to them.
characteristics, of course --
in line with your organization.
these protected values really come from.
looks pretty similar for men and women.
for those who had studied economics
around different age categories
how this develops over a lifetime.
of future research.
that incentives work.
the right people
and then putting incentives in place.
with the right values
to saving a lot of trouble
About the speaker:Alexander Wagner - Economist
Alexander Wagner balances two passions: the thrill of seeking knowledge about fundamentals of human behavior for knowledge's sake, and the desire to apply insights in the real world and to improve the workings of markets and organizations.
Why you should listen
Alexander Wagner has discovered that to most people, what matters is not only how much money they receive but also whether they behaved honestly to receive that money. As Swiss Finance Institute professor at the University of Zurich's Department of Banking and Finance, Wagner has taught corporate finance to thousands of eager students and hundreds of motivated executives, and he has helped shape governance systems of companies large and small. His recent research deals with how investors perceive managerial words and deeds … and with the stock market implications of the Trump election.
Alexander Wagner | Speaker | TED.com