Cheating spouses more likely to engage in corporate misconduct

People who cheat on their spouses are more likely to cheat at work.

If you have a work colleague who is cheating on their significant other, there’s also a bigger chance they’re laundering money or engaging in similarly shady business than if they were a faithful partner.

A new study from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, has found that people who cheat on their spouses are significantly more likely to engage in workplace misconduct.

Ashley Madison users more likely to engage in corporate misconduct

According to a media release, the researchers looked at the records of police officers, financial advisors, white-collar criminals, and senior executives who used the Ashley Madison website. As you probably know, Ashley Madison is a service for married people who want to cheat. It operates under the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair,” offering the opportunity for “discreet encounters.” However, in 2015 hackers exposed data from 36 million Ashley Madison user accounts – a clear case of overpromising and under delivering if we’ve ever seen one.

The study, “Personal Infidelity and Professional Conduct in 4 Settings,” by McCombs finance faculty members John M. Griffin and Samuel Kruger, and Gonzalo Maturana of Emory University, found that Ashley Madison users were more than twice as likely to engage in corporate misconduct.

First study to look at cheating at home and cheating at work

“This is the first study that’s been able to look at whether there is a correlation between personal infidelity and professional conduct,” Samuel Kruger said in a statement. “We find a strong correlation, which tells us that infidelity is informative about expected professional conduct.”

The findings reportedly suggest “a strong connection between people’s actions in their personal and professional lives and provide support for the idea that eliminating workplace sexual misconduct may also reduce fraudulent activity.”

Kruger said, “Our results show that personal sexual conduct is correlated with professional conduct. Eliminating sexual misconduct in the workplace could have the extra benefit of contributing to more ethical corporate cultures in general.”

Dishonest in one area probably means dishonest in other areas

This is interesting since we’re often pressured as a society to accept the notion that an individual’s personal conduct – infidelities included – should have no bearing on our attitudes towards them in a professional setting “as long as they do their job.” But, since corporate misconduct often flies under the radar, much like extramarital affairs, dishonest or sneaky personal behaviour should probably be considered a red flag when it comes to corporate behaviour. To wit: if someone is dishonest in one area of life, there’s a good chance they’re dishonest in other areas as well. Not exactly a stunning revelation.

Watch out for those cheaters.

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