Will You Hold to Your Values When Under Financial Strain? – Study Shows Weakening Effect

Attention aux PickPockets (dans La Tour Eiffel)

 (Photo credit: dullhunk)



New Research Shows that Our Moral Standards Weaken When We Feel Financial Strain


NYU Stern Professor discusses implications for moral behavior in an environment of slow economic


Many times, people’s immediate desires lead them to defy their longer-term, more stable preferences. When we crave food, we are tempted to break our diets; similarly, when we feel deprived of financial resources, we are susceptible to sacrificing other important values. In a new study, NYU Stern Professor Adam Alter and his co-authors, Stern alumnus Eesha Sharma (PhD ’13) of Dartmouth College, Dan Ariely of Duke University and Nina Mazar of the University of Toronto, find that people believe financial constraints should not excuse immoral conduct. However, when people actually feel worse off financially, they loosen their own moral standards to redress the perceived unfairness of their situation.


Across one survey and five experiments, the authors find:


1. People’s moral standards shift as their own financial status fluctuates.


2. People who feel financially insecure tend to cheat more for financial gains, and judge other financially insecure people who cheat more leniently than do financially comfortable people.


3. This apparent moral hypocrisy diminishes when it is clear that immoral conduct cannot alleviate financial imbalances, when financial deprivation seems fair or deserved, and when acting immorally seems unfair.


4. People are generally unaware of their vulnerability to this behavioral inconsistency. However, based on their findings, the authors suggest that people may recognize their apparent hypocrisy after behaving immorally.


The findings are relevant in today’s world economy: “The US and European markets are not out of the woods yet. To the extent that people feel financially deprived, our research suggests that they’re more likely to engage in workplace sabotage, pilfering and other dishonest conduct.” The authors posit that fostering a sense of equity or fairness in the workplace can help mitigate the possibility of immoral conduct also consider the influence on corporate policy issues (e.g., unemployment packages) as well as fiscal policies (e.g., stimulus spending).


“Those in the position to make powerful financial decisions might be swayed by their sense of financial comfort (and the financial comfort of those affected) – and they are strikingly unaware of it,” explains Alter.


The article, “Financial Deprivation Selectively Shifts Moral Standards and Compromises Moral Decisions,” is forthcoming in the journal, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.


From: NYU Stern


Follow the Magazine:
https://businessleadershipmanagement.wordpress.com/subscribe-follow-the-magazine/ (After you have filled in your email address in the column at the right hand side of the screen, a confirmation email will sent to your email address. You will have to confirm it before subscription begins)


Follow us on Twitter:


Like us on Facebook:


**As part of the Magazine’s drive to reward subscribers/followers, we will be providing subscribers/followers special access to exclusive content which will not be otherwise available to normal visitors. Please be sure to subscribe to the Magazine. Many visitors have given us positive comments that they will be bookmarking the site, but as the system is unable to capture a working email address to which the passcodes for exclusive content will be sent, they will miss out on this content. Do note that passcodes are locked to each exclusive content, not a one-for-all access, so do provide a working email address that you check regularly so as not to miss out on them!



6 thoughts on “Will You Hold to Your Values When Under Financial Strain? – Study Shows Weakening Effect

  1. Magnificent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too excellent.
    I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it.

    You make it enjoyable and you still take care
    of to keep it wise. I can’t wait to read far more from you.
    This is actually a great website.

  2. Pingback: Why Kids Are Bullying, Beating, Murdering….But Can We Rewrite Our Antiutopia Future? | Third News

  3. hello there and thank you for your info – I have certainly picked up something new
    from right here. I did however expertise some technical points using
    this site, as I experienced to reload the site many times previous to
    I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK?
    Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading
    instances times will often affect your placement in
    google and can damage your high-quality score if advertising and
    marketing with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS to
    my e-mail and could look out for a lot more of your respective interesting content.

    Ensure that you update this again soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s