University of Chicago Booth School of Business
When facing an ethical dilemma, being aware of the temptation before it happens and thinking about the long-term consequences of misbehaving could help more people do the right thing, according to a new study.
Honest behavior is much like sticking to a diet. When facing an ethical dilemma, being aware of the temptation before it happens and thinking about the long-term consequences of misbehaving could help more people do the right thing, according to a new study.
The study, "Anticipating and Resisting the Temptation to Behave Unethically," by University of Chicago Booth School of Business Behavioral Science and Marketing Professor Ayelet Fishbach and Rutgers Business School Assistant Professor Oliver J. Sheldon, was recently published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. It is the first study to test how the two separate factors of identifying an ethical conflict and preemptively exercising self-control interact in shaping ethical decision-making.
In a series of experiments that included common ethical dilemmas, such as calling in sick to work and negotiating a home sale, the researchers found that two factors together promoted ethical behavior: Participants who identified a potential ethical dilemma as connected to other similar incidents and who also anticipated the temptation to act unethically were more likely to behave honestly than participants who did not.
"Unethical behavior is rampant across various domains ranging from business and politics to education and sports," said Fishbach. "Organizations seeking to improve ethical behavior can do so by helping people recognize the cumulative impact of unethical acts and by providing warning cues for upcoming temptation."
In one experiment, business school students were divided into pairs as brokers for the buyer and seller of a historic New York brownstone. The dilemma: The seller wanted to preserve the property while the buyer wanted to demolish it and build a hotel. The brokers for the seller were told to only sell to a buyer who would save the brownstone, while the brokers for the buyer were told to conceal the buyer's plan to develop a hotel.
Before the negotiations began, half of the students were asked to recall a time when they cheated or bent the rules to get ahead. Only 45 percent of those students thinking about their ethics ahead of time behaved unethically in the negotiations, while more than two-thirds, or 67 percent, of the students who weren't reminded of an ethical temptation in advance, lied in the negotiations in order to close the deal.
In another experiment involving workplace scenarios, participants were less likely to say it is okay to steal office supplies, call into work sick when they aren't really ill, or intentionally work slowly to avoid additional tasks, if they anticipated an ethical dilemma through a writing exercise in advance and if they considered a series of six ethical dilemmas all at once.
In other words, people are more likely to engage in unethical behavior if they believe the act is an isolated incident and if they don't think about it ahead of time.
The results of the experiments have the potential to help policy makers, educators and employers devise strategies to encourage people to behave ethically. For example, a manager could control costs by emailing employees before a work trip to warn them against the temptation to inflate expenses. The notice could be even more effective if the manager reminded employees that the urge to exaggerate expenses is a temptation they will encounter repeatedly in the future.
By Gerard Manley Hopkins
Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.
California Senate extends protections for paid family leave
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Senate is advancing a bill that would expand job protections for those who qualify for paid family leave to care for relatives.
The legislation would ensure that workers who take paid leave to care for grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and in-laws have job security when they return.
Previously, care for these relatives qualified for paid leave but California law didn't ensure they could retain their job.
The state Senate narrowly passed SB 406 by Democratic Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara on a 21-16 vote Thursday, with Republicans opposed.
It also would lower the threshold for small businesses to offer these protections, so it applies to companies with at least 25 employees rather than 50.
Business groups oppose the expansion and have designated the bill as a "job killer."
“She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:
She swore, in faith, ‘twas strange, ‘twas passing strange,
'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful:
She wish’d she had not heard it, yet she wish’d
That heaven had made her such a man: she thank’d me,
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story.
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
She loved me for the dangers I had pass’d,
And I loved her that she did pity them.”
“The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
GOOD WORDS TO HAVE
Frugal: Characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources. Frugal ultimately derives from the Latin frux, meaning "fruit" or "value," and is even a distant cousin of the Latin word for "enjoy" (frui). The connection between fruit/value and restraint was first made in Latin; the Middle French word that English speakers eventually adopted as frugal came from the Latin adjective frugalis, a frux descendant meaning "virtuous" or "frugal." Although English speakers adopted frugal by the early 17th century, they were already lavishly supplied with earlier coinages to denote the idea, including sparing and thrifty.
“The teacher is also a woman, but she is older—in her fifties—and possessed with that bizarre and horrifying cruelty so common among people who, although feeble in their own lives, have been bestowed with some level of control over the lives of others.” Gina Nahai, Caspian Rain
Success vs. Happiness: Don't Be Fooled Into Thinking They're the Same
Take a minute to think about how "successful" you are.
Now think about what criteria you used to evaluate yourself. Some people might look to their bank account. Others to various degrees they've collected. Many would look to their relationships with a spouse, their children, their friends. Some might even open their closet and look to their collection of designer shoes, bags and watches.
Do I consider myself "successful?" I do. I've created a pretty awesome business; I’m well respected in my field; and I have multiple degrees. I love my home, and my relationships are strong.
But on the other hand, I don’t own my home. I sold my condo when I divorced. I’m also overweight, which doesn’t exactly paint a picture of success -- especially for a woman. Oh, and I quit my PhD 93 pages into my dissertation.
To some people, I might not look like a smashing success.
“Doubtless you do not hold with those (I need not name them to a man of your reading) who have taught that all matter is sentient, that every atom is a living, feeling, conscious being. I do. There is no such thing as dead, inert matter: it is all alive; all instinct with force, actual and potential; all sensitive to the same forces in its environment and susceptible to the contagion of the higher and subtler ones residing in such superior organisms as it may be brought into relation with, as those of man when he is fashioning it into an instrument of his will. It absorbs something of his intelligence and purpose–more of him in proportion to the complexity of the resulting machine and that of its work.”
Ambrose Bierce, Moxon’s Master
“Hearts united in pain and sorrow
will not be separated by joy and happiness.
Bonds that are woven in sadness
are stronger than the ties of joy and pleasure.
Love that is washed by tears
will remain eternally pure and faithful.”
“It has been said that life has treated me harshly; and sometimes I have complained in my heart because many pleasures of human experience have been withheld from me…if much has been denied me, much, very much, has been given me…” Helen Keller
“You once said that you would like to sit beside me while I write. Listen, in that case I could not write at all. For writing means revealing oneself to excess; that utmost of self revelation and surrender, in which a human being, when involved with others, would feel he was losing himself, and from which, therefore, he will always shrink as long as he in his right mind… That is why one can never be alone enough when one writes, why there can never be enough silence around one when one writes, why even night is not night enough.” Franz Kafka