Moral People more Likely to Cheat
When people are asked to describe themselves, most of them will talk about their physical traits and activities. They will say that they go to the gym, that they do yoga, and so on. However there are certain people that have a moral identity and these people say about themselves that they are caring, honest, and so on. The past research have proven that the people who describe themselves as being honest and generous are more likely to participate at various socially responsible acts and volunteer works.
However the line between eight and wrong becomes blurry in many situations. One such situation is when it comes to cheating at the workplace, or at an exam. Some people might see nothing wrong with cheating, especially the ones who have very high moral values. They might believe that they are cheating at the test in order to obtain high grades and then to be able to become a doctor or a lawyer to help people. A new study has revealed the fact that when the line between right and wrong is ambiguous, the worst of the cheaters are the do-gooders.
It is believed that in many cases the do-gooders talk in a certain manner and act in the opposite. Numerous people who seem to be without flaws have been caught doing immoral and illegal things. One such person is Jim Bakker the famous televangelist who later became a fraud convict. Ted Haggard, the former president of the National Evangelical Association is another one. He was the president of more than 5,000 churches and he was caught buying meth. The people with a very strong moral identity choose their fate when it comes to making a moral decision. The problem is that in many of the cases they go for an all-or-nothing approach, meaning that they either chose one extreme or the other.
Scott Reynolds of the University of Washington Business School in Seattle believes that this is why some of the most famous “saints” are the biggest liars and hypocrites of them all. The experts believe that a person who has very high moral standards would cheat because he does not see the act as being immoral. They see it just a mean of getting to a destination. They believe that if they cheat now they will reach to a certain thing that would allow them to help the people, just like in the case of the doctor and of the lawyers, as I previously mentioned. A competitive playing field can also influence the cheating.
In a competitive environment cheating is very popular because it is a way in which one can get in front of the other, and many people choose to do so, especially since they know that they will be rewarded if they win. Daniel Kruger, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan believes that one of the reasons why people decide to cheat is because they feel the urge of being the best. More and more people want to beat the other persons at various things and competitions even if they are unimportant.
Cheating can save lots of time and energy, but it can also mean a disaster if the person is caught cheating. There are many extreme examples of cheating and they all happened in environments which are very competitive. People have been caught removing pages from the books of their colleagues, so they would not be able to study everything for the exam. Reynolds and Tara Ceranic, one of his colleagues from the University of Washington studied 230 college students with an average age of 21 who were enrolled in a business course. They asked the students 12 questions which would asses their level of morality. They had to answer questions regarding generosity, honesty, he will to work hard, compassion, and others as well. They were also asked if they have ever cheated in one or more of the 13 various means.
More than 90 percent of the students stated that they have cheated in at least one of the manners presented on the sheet of paper. More than 55 percent stated that they did not tell the teacher that he made a mistake when he gave him the grade. 45 percent of the students stated that they have copied from one of their colleagues during an exam. The students who scored high on the morality test and who believed that cheating is not an OK thing to do, did not cheat as much as the people who believed that cheating is not immoral. Reynolds stated that the reason for this is the fact that if they believe that cheating is not immoral they will do it without remorse.
He also mentioned that there are cases when the moral people cheat as well, and the reason for that is the fact that they fall in one of the extremes. They also interviewed 290 managers and asked them about 17 different immoral things which they might have done at the office such as taking more time than necessary for a job, using company service for personal use, and so on. In this case, the managers who had the moral values were the ones who performed most of the immoral things.
Reynolds stated that ethics education might be suitable for these people who have a problem with lying and cheating. He also believes that the students or the employees should be told from the beginning which behaviors are considered to be immoral and unethical. Rewards and punishment could also be effective because he feels that we respond were well to those stimuli. Reynolds believe that the training is very important.11