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Monday, February 15, 2016

If You’re Loyal to a Group, Does It Compromise Your Ethics?

By Francesca Gino
Harvard Business Review
Originally posted January 06, 2016

Here are two excerpts:

Most of us feel loyalty, whether to our clan, our comrades, an organization, or a cause. These loyalties are often important aspects of our social identity. Once a necessity for survival and propagation of the species, loyalty to one’s in-group is deeply rooted in human evolution.

But the incidents of wrongdoing that capture the headlines make it seem like loyalty is all too often a bad thing, corrupting many aspects of our personal and professional lives. My recent research, conducted in collaboration with Angus Hildreth of the University of California, Berkeley and Max Bazerman of Harvard Business School, suggests that this concern about loyalty is largely misplaced. In fact, we found loyalty to a group can increase, rather than decrease, honest behavior.


As our research shows, loyalty can be a driver of good behavior, but when competition among groups is high, it can lead us to behave unethically. When we are part of a group of loyal members, traits associated with loyalty — such as honor, honesty, and integrity — are very salient in our minds. But when loyalty seems to demand a different type of goal, such as competing with other groups and winning at any cost, behaving ethically becomes a less important goal.

The article is here.