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Rationalization – Denial of Injury:

As the 3rd installment in our series of posts dissecting each of the rationalization techniques, we will address Denial of Injury. The denial of injury technique takes place when we tell ourselves that no one was (or will be) hurt by our actions, thus justifying our unethical choices.

A good example of denial of injury involves San Eshaghoff. Over the course of three years, Eshaghoff took the SAT several times for various students, who he referred to as his “clients”. He consistently scored in the 97th percentile, or higher, and was able to build a fairly lucrative career based on his impressive track record.

After his actions were discovered, he still felt fairly proud of his accomplishment, claiming that he had “saved his clients’ lives” by allowing them to get into good colleges. When questioned about whether he felt guilty about the deserving students that were displaced by his clients, he replied, “I hear that, but I don’t care for a complaint like that. That one kid that I helped get into whatever school, he wasn’t really displacing anybody … I don’t want to defend [my clients], but I feel confident defending the fact that them getting into the schools that they ended up getting into didn’t really affect other people.”

To watch more of the interview with Eshaghoff click HERE.

A series of blog posts focusing on rationalization techniques will continue over the next several weeks. In the meantime, read more about them in The Business Ethics Field Guide (contact Merit Leadership to purchase a copy now).

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