Study: High-Stakes Decision-Making Causes A Little More Cheating, A Lot Less Charity

Apparently virtue is not its own reward in the corporate business world. Researchers from the University of Exeter and the London School of Economics found people leverage feelings of virtuousness from having resisted a large temptation to act selfishly on a different occasion. Researcher Dr. Oliver Hauser adds, “To avoid the feelings of moral virtuousness that may stem from resisting a personal gain from a high-stakes decision turning into less cooperative behavior subsequently, organizations may wish to consider assigning responsibility for multiple high-stakes decisions to different decision-makers or reviewing the timing between such decisions.” And Researcher Dr. Barbara Fasolo says, “Our research complements a growing experimental literature that shows that the size of the payoff is not a key driver of immediate unethical behavior and many people engage in low-level cheating.”