Warning: this blog includes actual codes of ethics. Reading codes of ethics may result in drowsiness. Do not read this blog while driving or operating heavy machinery.
Last week’s psygrammer post, Sharing Benefits Increases Cheating, was a glimpse on how people make (un-)ethical judgements and creating a working environment that fosters ethical behavior. As I reflected on that post I realized that ethics was rarely an explicit part of my working environment: no employer had a code of ethics (that I knew about) and it was rarely a direct topic of conversation in the workplace. Sure, I faced many ethical dilemmas and I feel that I have sought to act ethically throughout my career. But what are the ethical principles that I am supposed to uphold? Will it make it easier to recognize ethical dilemmas and make ethical choices if I know the individual “ethical lemmas“?
Today’s post is a thought bubble on honesty and cheating in the workplace following two articles I read recently. The first is an interesting report on how people are more likely to cheat if the benefits of that cheating are shared with another person, even with an anonymous stranger. The likelihood of behaving dishonestly doubled (21% to 43%) when participants could point to another’s benefit from their own unethical behavior.
The report was based on experiments involving word games and other online activities in which the researchers left opportunities for participants to over-report their performance. Splitting the benefits of cheating was considered less unethical by participants than taking the benefits all for themselves.