31 Jul Marriage Cheaters More Likely to Misbehave at Work
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
John M. Griffin PhD
James A. Elkins Centennial Chair in Finance
McCombs School of Business
The University of Texas
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: The importance of personal traits compared to context for predicting behavior is a long-standing issue in psychology. Yet, we have limited evidence of how predictive personal conduct, such as marital infidelity, is for professional conduct.
We use data on usage of a marital infidelity website as a measure of marital infidelity and find that it is strongly correlated with professional conduct in four different professional settings.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Personal and professional conduct are related. Individuals who use the marital infidelity website are also more likely to engage in professional misconduct. Police officers with substantial complaints, financial advisors with records of misconduct, and defendants to Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuits alleging white-collar crime are all more than twice as likely to use the marital infidelity website compared to matched samples of similar professionals without professional misconduct. And we also find that firms whose CEOs or CFOs use Ashley Madison have higher rates of corporate infractions. The findings cut against some more recent notions that personal and professional behavior are mostly distinct.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: The study highlights the strong connection between personal and professional conduct and cuts against the view that ethics and behavior are situational. This supports the classical view that virtues such as honesty and integrity influence actions across different contexts. It also suggests that the recent focus on eliminating sexual misconduct in the workplace #Metoo movement may help improve corporate cultures more generally.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: The study presents novel evidence that personal infidelity is informative about professional conduct. More generally, we hope it motivates people to think about ethics and misconduct more holistically.
Personal infidelity and professional conduct in 4 settings
John M. Griffin, Samuel Kruger, and Gonzalo Maturana
PNAS first published July 30, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1905329116
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