We have a moral obligation to take care of ourselves.
We have a moral obligation to arrive on time to a dinner with friends.
We have a moral obligation to sell as much as possible for our our company.
When we impose a penalty or offer a reward for these behaviors, they risk becoming amoral. For some people, the question is no longer “should I do these things?” The question becomes “do I want the reward or avoid the punishment?”
For business ethics professionals, this reality should give us pause when we create our incentive programs.