Thinking about the long-term results before giving in to temptation while facing an ethical dilemma can actually help you take the right decision.
In the study conducted by the University of Chicago, researchers found people who identify a potential ethical dilemma as connected to other similar incidents and who also anticipate the temptation to act unethically are more likely to behave honestly than people who do not.
Researcher Ayelet Fishbach said that unethical behavior is rampant across various domains ranging from business and politics to education and sports and organisations seeking to improve ethical behavior can do so by helping people recognize the cumulative impact of unethical acts and by providing warning cues for upcoming temptation.
The research concludes that people are more likely to engage in unethical behavior if they believe the act is an isolated incident and if they don’t think about it ahead of time.
The research has a potential to help policy makers, educators and employers devise strategies to encourage people to behave ethically.
The study is published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.