Ethical People Prone to Unethical Behavior When Fatigued
By Devin Ballam, Marketing −
People can be taught and learn about ethical behavior, but new research shows that even the most ethical are prone to immoral or illogical behavior during times of fatigue.
There are normally three reasons that people commit unethical behaviors: pressure, opportunity and rationalization, all of which are more tempting when people are tired or stressed.
For example, think of the last time you were on a diet. Even if you were really diligent, weren’t there times, especially when you were tired, that you cheated a little bit, rationalizing the cupcake or candy bar by saying, “It’s OK, I’ll run extra hard tomorrow”? If you constantly rationalized this behavior, these singular acts of cheating could become a habit. In like manner, by engaging in small acts of illogical or immoral behavior, we reinforce bad habits that can get us into trouble.
Emotions vs. Knowledge
The reason we find ourselves more likely to be unethical when tired is because people under fatigue are often led by their emotions, instead of their knowledge of right and wrong.
We all know the value of a full workday, but we all feel the desire to go home. We all know the value of a good diet, but we all feel the desire to satisfy our sweet tooth. It’s hard to find a balance.
Unethical Decisions Lead to Large-Scale Corruption
This new study shows that everyone has a time of day during which they work better and are able to make more ethical decisions, but there is also a time in the day when the body is more susceptible to engage in unethical behaviors. For example, a morning person would be more likely to be unethical at night. Thus, when employees reach that time of day and get tired, they are more likely to slip up, which can potentially lead to huge compliance problems in the long run.
When you measure behavior, behavior usually improves. The problem is figuring out how to measure peoples’ likelihood to step outside of ethical boundaries. While submitting everyone to intense scrutiny and interrogation seems overkill, there still needs to be a way to measure integrity in the work place so that small, unethical behaviors do not lead to large-scale corruption.
EyeDetect™ may be the solution for rooting out unethical behaviors. The indiscretions that can have severe consequences in the work place can be detected to improve the work environment. If we allow “unbiased” technology to assist, ethical behavior has more chance to flourish.