Quick quiz …
Which department(s) inside an advertising would be most likely to engage in dishonest behavior? The least?
- Account Management
- Human Resources
(Share your thoughts in the comments … then come back and read the rest of the post.)
This was the very thing that Dan Ariely studied at a large ad agency (and wrote about in his book “The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty“) …
It was an extension to an earlier study that demonstrated “that a creative mind-set could make people cheat a bit more.”
Of the people in the ad agency he asked questions like:
- How likely would you be to inflate your business expense report?
- How likely are you to take home office supplies from work?
- How likely would you be to tell your supervisor that progress was made on a project when none has been made at all?
Ariely’s conclusion after the ad agency study: “creativity can help us tell better stories — stories that allow us to be even more dishonest but still think of ourselves as wonderfully honest people.”
Does that help you choose the departments that are most likely to engage in dishonest behavior?
(Here’s a further hint: the people inside these departments are also more prone to melancholy.)
Fortunately Ariely includes a wonderful chapter on guidelines to help you fight cheating and maintain your honesty … particularly the Broken Windows Theory … which states you should attack small acts of dishonesty early and often to keep them from snowballing into higher levels of infidelity.
Great advice. So …
Image source: Why We Lie