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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Interview with Dan Ariely

Featured Collaborator of the Month with www.ethicalsystems.org
Originally published on April 24, 2015

Here is an excerpt:

Why are cheating and dishonesty so widespread?

They are part of human nature. We have this incredible balance between honesty and dishonesty. We are taught from a young age to be dishonest in the social realm. We are taught not to tell people that they smell, or that it was the train that made us late instead of us being lazy, if people have a new haircut we say that it is very nice. We learn in the social realm that cheating is in fact desirable to some degree and then we move to the business / professional realm.

Now the rules are different. Now dishonesty is not as good. We don't separate those. Modern society creates a situation where the overlap between our social and professional lives are very high. All of a sudden, the people you interact with socially are the same as you interact with non socially, i.e. in your professional life. These tradeoffs become complex.

It is also important to realize that dishonesty is also about short term vs. long term. Saying something dishonest is a good solution in the short term but not necessarily in the long term, but we don't make this trade off correctly. For example, you say "I love your work" or "Your presentation as great," but then you get stuck with listening to, or having to fix, more of it. Much like other activities we over focus on the short term.

The entire article is here.