On greed

Long Wang, J. Keith Murnighan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


Greed is a central element in human existence. It is also frequently mentioned as a factor in many recent organizational and financial scandals. Thus, it was surprising to discover that empirical research on greed is rare. In contrast, however, a variety of different literatures present a rich conceptual foundation for understanding the dynamics of greed and greedy behavior. We focus on four of these literatures, broadly defined as historical/philosophical, economic, political, and social psychological/game theoretic, to investigate the concept of greed. We identify and explore three of its major characteristics: its moral, cognitive, and emotional elements. In addition, we present a decision process model to synthesize and analyze the dynamics of intuition, emotions, and reasoning that contribute to or inhibit greed. In essence, our discussion addresses the genesis, the catalysts, and the ramifications of greed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-316
Number of pages38
JournalAcademy of Management Annals
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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