University of Southern California

Scott Wiltermuth
Associate Professor of Management and Organization

USC Marshall School of Business
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0808

PhD, AM, Stanford University; MBA, INSEAD; AB, Harvard University


Scott Wiltermuth researches how socio-environmental factors affect people’s reactions to unethical behavior and their likelihood of behaving unethically themselves. He also researches how interpersonal dynamics, such as synchrony and dominance, affect people’s willingness to cooperate with others. He has published papers in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, Academy of Management Journal, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and numerous other academic journals. His work has been reported in many media outlets, including: The Economist, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. Previously, he worked in the airline industry as a strategy consultant.


Wiltermuth, S. S. (2017) "Creativity in Unethical Behavior Attenuates Condemnation and Breeds Social Contagion When Transgressions Seem to Create Little Harm," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 139, 106-126.
Raj, M., and Wiltermuth, S. S. (2016) "Barriers to Forgiveness," Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 10, 679-690.
Wiltermuth, S. S., and Newman, D., "Moral Clarity," in Gray, K., and Graham, J., eds., The Atlas of Moral Psychology, Guilford Press 2015.
Wiltermuth, S. S., Newman, D., and Raj, M. (2015) "The Consequences of Dishonesty," Current Opinion in Psychology.
Wiltermuth, S. S., and Raj, M., "Not for My Sake: Preventing Others from Using Potential Beneficiaries’ Benefits as Justifications for Dishonesty.," in Prooijen, J., and Van Lange, P.A.M., eds., Cheating, Corruption, and Concealment, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University 2015.
Wiltermuth, S. S., Tiedens, L. Z., and Neale, M. A. (2015) "The benefits of dominance complementarity in negotiations," Negotiation and Conflict Management Research.
Wiltermuth, S. S., and Cohen, T. R. (2014) "“I’d Only Let You Down”: Guilt Proneness and the Avoidance of Harmful Interdependence," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107 (5), 925-942.
Schaumberg, R. L., and Wiltermuth, S. S. (2014) "Desire for a positive moral self-regard exacerbates escalation of commitment to initiatives that benefit others," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 123 (2), 110-123.
Gino, F., and Wiltermuth, S. S. (2014) "Evil Genius? How Dishonesty Can Lead to Greater Creativity," Psychological Science.
Wiltermuth, S. S., Bennett, V. M., and Lamar, P. (2013) "Doing as They Would Do: How the Perceived Ethical Preferences of Third-Party Beneficiaries Impact Ethical Decision-Making," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 122 (2), 280–290.
Wiltermuth, S. S., and Flynn, F. J. (2013) "Power, moral clarity, and punishment in the workplace," Academy of Management Journal, 56 (4), 1001-1023.
Wiltermuth, S. S., and Gino, F. (2013) ""I'll have one of each": How separating rewards into (meaningless) categories increases motivation.," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104 (1), 1-13.
Lovett, B. J., Jordan, A. H., and Wiltermuth, S. S. (2012) "Individual differences in the moralization of everyday life," Ethics and Behavior, 22 (4), 248-257.
Wiltermuth, S. S. (2012) "Synchrony and destructive obedience," Social Influence.
Wiltermuth, S. S. (2012) "Synchronous activity boosts compliance with requests to aggress," Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48 (1), 453 - 456.
Wiltermuth, S. S., and Tiedens, L. Z. (2011) "Anger and the appeal of evaluating others' ideas," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 116 (1), 55-65.
Bohns, V. K., and Wiltermuth, S. S. (2011) "It hurts when I do this (or you do that): Posture and pain tolerance," Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48 (1), 341 - 345.
Wiltermuth, S. S. (2011) "Cheating more when the spoils are split," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 115 (2), 157-168..
Wiltermuth, S. S., and Neale, M. A. (2011) "Too much information: The adverse impact of non-diagnostic information in negotiations," Journal of Applied Psychology, 96 (1), 192-201.
Wiltermuth, S. S., Monin, B., and Chow, R. M. (2010) "The orthogonality of praise and condemnation in moral judgment," Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Flynn, F. J., and Wiltermuth, S. S. (2010) "Who is with me? False consensus, brokerage, and ethical decision making in organizations," Academy of Management Journal.
Wiltermuth, S. S., "Dominance complementarity and group creativity," in Goncalo, J., Mannix, E., and Neale, M., eds., Research in Managing Groups in Teams, Research in Managing Groups and Teams 2009.
Wiltermuth, S. S., and Heath, C. (2009) "Synchrony and cooperation," Psychological Science, 20 (1), 1-5.