Summary of What Really Motivates People to Be Honest in Business

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One in seven large companies engages in fraud each year, warns economist Alexander Wagner. In that context, he assesses the wisest, most economical way to ensure an honest organization. Wagner’s methods involve testing two dominant theories about human behavior: Do employees act in their self-interest, or do core values drive their actions? getAbstract suggests this talk to professionals interested in creating an honest, conscientious corporate culture.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why fraud is a significant problem among corporations,
  • What economist Adam Smith and philosopher Immanuel Kant believed drives human behavior, and
  • How companies can leverage this knowledge to improve their corporate cultures.

About the Speaker

Economist Alexander Wagner is a professor of banking and finance at the University of Zurich.



One in seven big, public corporations commits fraud each year, according to a US academic study of the nation’s firms. This dishonesty costs shareholders and society about $380 billion annually. The problem affects various sectors –

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