' ); } ?>

‘Getting to “Us”: Nudges & Bridges for Peace at Work and Beyond


Feb 9, 2022 09:00 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Professor Timothy L. Fort holds the Eveleigh Professorship in Business Ethics and is Professor of Business Law & Ethics at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.


Music, sports, movies and other cultural artifacts offer bridges for people who might otherwise disagree with each other on social and political issues. I argue that it is essential that we recover the capability of sharing bonds with those who politically differ from us even when these divides are historical and sharpened by the challenge of increasing diversity, social media (as well as network media) siloing of viewpoints and gerrymandered political districts. There is little reason to believe that these divisions will be any less antipodal in one year or five years unless there is either (a) a common enemy that unites us or (b) a model of navigating cultural divides that can cultivate common ground. 

The same cultural artifacts have a psychophysiological impact on our cognitive orientations so that we view situations differently if our cognitive mindset is, for example, in an us vs them orientation as opposed to one that is joyful. I provide a model of mood orientation and cognitive decision-making that teaches how to create one’s own nudges. More specifically, some of these nudges open the way to build bridges with others with whom we may otherwise be in conflict. That is true not only as we work together toward providing a product or service, but also through “cultural artifacts” such as music, sports, film and humor and even, yes, through our pets and our spiritual traditions, which can broaden the contexts of our relationships.