Positive Social Identity : The Quantitative Analysis of Ethics book cover
1st Edition

Positive Social Identity
The Quantitative Analysis of Ethics

ISBN 9781472480880
Published May 22, 2017 by Routledge
270 Pages

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Book Description

Despite considerable work the answer to basic questions such as ‘what are our ethics and our moral norms now?’ ‘Have they changed since last year?’, ‘If so why?’ remain surprisingly illusive.

This book argues that progress towards answering these questions is possible through a grounded analytical account of the cultivation of ethics and moral norms in social groups, in particular places and times.

Departing from the evolutionary theory of why we gain value from pro-social behaviour, we argue that a coherent thread exists for how we do so through evolved social capacities that are united in the pursuit of a Positive Social Identity.

Drawing on a unique quantitative dataset from Sierra Leone this book offers a theoretical framework and a preliminary guide to the systematic quantitative analysis of ethics and moral norms and how these may relate to the long term success of organisations.

The results directly challenge a ‘one-size-fits-all’, universal understanding of both ethics and moral norms both within and between organisations. The costs and challenges influencing the development of ethics and moral norms and their ultimate conception of pro-sociality vary dramatically according to situation. Nowhere is this more starkly illustrated than between economically developed and developing countries.

In analysing the relationship between agency and situation, the role of diversity, conflict, inefficiency and failure to cooperate prove to be essential components of the solution of social dilemmas on which Positive Social Identity depends.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Evolutionary Motivations Towards Pro-Social Moral Norms

Chapter 2 The Social Brain and Moral Self-Identity

Chapter 3 Situation and Transformation in the Resolution of Social Dilemmas

Chapter 4 Intrapersonal Identity Positivity

Chapter 5 Positive Social Identity

Chapter 6: A Situational Model of Positive Social Identity

Chapter 7: A Situational Analysis of Positive Social Identity

Chapter 8: Conclusion: The Distinct Importance of Positive Social Identity


Appendix 1: Data Collected

Appendix 2: Correlation between Indicators of PSID Pro-social Behviour and Social Resources

Appendix 3: Equations Used for Graph Level Indicators


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Dr Nick Duncan has directed both commercial and NGO organisations with activities in over 20 countries. Nick has specialised over the last 15 years in corruption, anti-corruption and organisational ethics. During this period, he has specifically focussed on issues of measurement, both as a practitioner and researcher. He has published, and lectured internationally on these subjects.

Nick is currently lead consultant at Strategic Organisational Ethics in Cambridge UK.