Professor Mary Gentile Named a Top Mind of 2017

By Dave Hendrick

Darden Professor Mary Gentile has added a new accolade to her list of awards and plaudits.

Professor Mary Gentile, creator/director of Giving Voice to Values

Gentile, author of the influential Giving Voice to Values curriculum, has been named one of Compliance Week‘s “Top Minds 2017,” a list that highlights “the best and brightest in the governance, risk, ethics and compliance profession.”

Deeming Gentile “The Practical Ethicist,” Compliance Week said Gentile is “one of the compliance and ethics field’s most renowned educators for her results-based ethics training.” She described the focus of Giving Voice to Values in a Q&A with the magazine:

Instead of presenting so-called ethical dilemmas, we should focus on situations where most of us would know what the right thing to do is but we just don’t think it’ll be successful, possible, feasible, or even well-received in the context where we’re working. So instead of asking people to determine what’s right, we ask, “how would you get the right thing done?”

I call this the Giving Voice to Values (GVV) thought experiment, because we know now that if you ask people what they would do, and they think it’s going to be impossible to do what they think is right, they will unconsciously rationalize why it’s not necessarily the wrong thing to do. People react emotionally and give reasons for it post-hoc. I wanted to disrupt that unconscious process before that pre-emptive rationalizing kicked in and just say, look, I’m not asking whether you would do this. I’m asking what if you wanted to do this, and then we get people to work together to script and action plan and rehearse so by the time they actually have to face the question, they feel like they have a real choice because they have some options.

Read the rest of the interview with Gentile in Compliance Week, beginning on page 32 (free sign-up required).

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