Creative people ‘more likely to cheat’
Dubai, July 27, 2011
Creative people are more likely to behave in an unethical manner, according to a joint study by Duke University and Harvard Business School.
Although the study clarified that it is not compulsory that a creative person will cheat or lie, there is a link that trying to be innovative can make people think about ethical loopholes, thus establishing an important correlation between creativity and immorality.
This dispositional creativity is a better predictor of unethical behavior than intelligence, driving people, for example, to inflate expense reports and steal office supplies, the study said.
“This study is both interesting and alarming, since it suggests that people who work in roles involving creative thinking are more apt to develop ways to bypass moral rules and hence behave dishonestly,’ said Dan Ariely, professor of behavioral economics at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
The researchers conducted five experiments, using between 71 and 111 people in each experiment, and found an association between out-of-the-box thinking and deceitful actions.
This led them to the conclusion that most likely the cognitive skills that boost creativity in individuals simultaneously foster the ability to justify their underhand deeds.
“Although creativity is a beneficial trait in employees, driving much business success, it has to be kept in check. Managers within organizations must not allow the negative consequences of creativity to thrive,” said Professor Ariely.
In order to control such tendencies in the workforce, organizations need to understand the limits of a creative work atmosphere. Managers can promote a work culture that rewards good conduct and create environmental cues that remind employees to be scrupulous, according to the study.
Francesca Gino, associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and co-author of the study, refers to the findings as "a first step in uncovering some of the potential dark consequences of being creative." – TradeArabia News Service