Ethical Slips and the Irresistible Urge to Cheat

corporate_greedEven with a solid foundation of good moral values, no one is immune to making unethical choices.

Ethical slips and traps are rampant, from telling white lies that protect a friend, to ignoring a gut feeling and following orders when we know better.

Not a month goes by without some highly publicized ethical scandal. Be it tax evasion, executive pay excesses, sexual dalliances and outright fraud, many individuals are simply unable to resist temptation.

Does this make the perpetrators corrupt sociopaths?

Sometimes, but usually not.

They’re often leaders and pillars of the community, and their actions leave us shaking our heads and wondering what were they thinking.

The sad truth? No one is immune. Cheating isn’t limited to those in positions of power. While power is certainly fraught with opportunities and temptations, each of us faces daily choices that involve doing the right — or wrong — thing.

Only when a CEO, politician, celebrity or sports legend gets caught does the problem rise to front-page news. Just ask Tiger Woods.

But the same ethical traps lie in your path. Even the little guys transgress. Often, people feel an urge to cheat — a strange pull to try to get away with something. Sometimes it’s small; other times it’s scandalous. Sometimes it matters; other times it goes unnoticed.

What exactly happens inside our heads when we choose to violate our ethical standards? Do we lose sight of what’s right? Do we take the easy way out? Are we driven to win at any price? Are we attracted to our “dark side”?

This is a brief synopsis of a 2000 & 1000-word article suitable for consultants’ newsletters for executives and leaders in organizations.

It is available for purchase with full reprint rights, which means you may put your name on it and use it in your newsletters, blogs or other marketing materials.

You may also modify it and add your personal experiences and perspectives.

The complete 2,000 word article includes these important concepts:

  • Ethical Roots
  • The Brain Science of Traps
  • Four Basic Tribal Drives
  • The Ethical Stage
  • Root Causes of Traps
  • Primary Traps
  • A Study of Business Ethics
  • 12  Questions for Examining the Ethics of a Business Decision

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Ethical Slips –  Jan10-97b – 1000 word Article

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