Crossing the Line: Lying, Cheating, & Stealing at Work

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January 27, 2011

Spend your career in human resources and you will certainly come across your share of employees who will do whatever they think it takes to get ahead at work.   They take one wrong step and dont’ get caught, so they take another.  And another.  Before you know it, they are walking right up to the edge of the line and crossing over. 

Lying? Check.

Stealing? Check.

Cheating, belittling, bullying, and avoiding? Check, check, check, check.

What is it about human nature that makes some people follow all the rules and others believe it is alright to break them?  We may never have that answer.  It may be because the opportunity is there.  It may be that they feel dissatisfied with their role so they lie or cheat to get ahead in the company or department.  There are a whole host of other reasons.  The important thing is to help your employees by recognizing and rewarding the positive behavior they demonstrate in order to move the company forward.

Ethical behavior is the cornerstone of good business.  In times of economic instability are there higher incidents of unethical behavior in the workplace? I wonder.

What do you think?  Are you finding this to be an issue, or do you think employees are even more “buttoned up” and walking the straight and narrow in order to keep their jobs?

5 Comments

  • Good question Trish. I think that those who are inherently unethical don’t care if the economy is strong or weak. They all worship at the “Church of Themselves” anyway. So, in their minds they can justify anything as long as it benefits them in some way.

    It’s a shame actually, because we’ve all seen leaders who give so much of themselves, that they become the most respected in the organization.

  • The highest performers in the organization are worth “nought” if they do not walk the culture and standards of behavior of their organization. It is a trueism when I say it is not what you do but how you do it. Great thought provoking post.-cheers Peter

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.

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