Thursday, April 07, 2016

Fending off a boss who wants you to flout rules

The Economist cites a recent survey that showed that 9% of employees faced pressure from their bosses to compromise on their ethical beliefs; 21% of employees who reported misconduct at work said they faced retaliation from their firms.

How to fend off a boss who wants you to do the crooked thing? One study shows that if you sport a religious symbol at work, bosses are less likely to ask you to do something is illegal or immoral. Maybe there's merit, then, in sporting a cross or having an image of a god at work or even wearing a tilak.

I nearly fell for this. Until I came to the end of the article. There's another study shows that those who make a show of righteousness are not likely to act more righteously:
In a further experiment, Ms Desai gave her participants the opportunity to behave ethically or unethically. Then, in what they believed was an unrelated study, they were given the option of appending a moral quotation to an e-mail to others in their group and/or to one sent just to themselves. Those who chose to signal their righteousness only to the outside world were more likely to have misbehaved in the first part of the experiment. 
There's the risk, therefore, that if you wear your religiosity on your sleeve, the boss will think there's a better chance of getting you to bend rules.

Moral of the story: do not expect academic studies to enlighten you in such matters. Trust your own instincts.

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