Barriers to ethical behaviour and stability: stereotyping and scapegoating as pretexts for avoiding responsibility

Hersh, M.A. (2013) Barriers to ethical behaviour and stability: stereotyping and scapegoating as pretexts for avoiding responsibility. Annual Reviews in Control, 37(2), pp. 365-381. (doi: 10.1016/j.arcontrol.2013.09.013)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Publisher's URL:


The paper considers the relationship between stereotyping, scapegoating, unethical behaviour and instability and shows how stereotyping and scapegoating can contribute to national and international instability. It presents a revised version of a three-part model of conflict previously developed by the author, with the components of an issue of dispute, a context which favours violence over peaceful resolution, and a trigger event, and shows how some of the theories of scapegoating and the resulting violence fit into this model. It also presents a new three-level model of the factors which lead to stereotyping at the individual, organisational or communal, and wider society levels.<p></p> The paper also discusses potential solutions to current vicious cycles in which unethical behaviour, stereotyping and scapegoating promote or lead to instability. The role of multi-loop action learning and organisations such as TECIS (IFAC Technical Committee 9.5 on Technology, Culture and International Stability, formerly SWIIS) are highlighted in providing support for whistleblowing, responsibility and accountability at both the collective and individual levels, a strengthening of both individual and group identities and increasing respect for currently stereotyped and discriminated against out-groups, which will reduce their vulnerability to scapegoating.<p></p>

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hersh, Dr Marion
Authors: Hersh, M.A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
Journal Name:Annual Reviews in Control
Publisher:International Federation of Automatic Control

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record