The Ethical Executive: Becoming Aware of the Root Causes of Unethical Behavior: 45 Psychological Traps That Every One of Us Falls Prey To

By Robert Hoyk; Paul Hersey | Go to book overview

TRAP 6
COMPETITION

IN THE 1990 S, management consultants extolled the “Darwinian revolution.” they coached executives to intensify competition within the company. It was reasoned that what was good for our economy in its entirety was good for individual companies.

In general, competition between companies fosters creativity, hard work, and greater wealth. But competition within companies can incite workers to hide information; it can cause mistrust and betrayal.1

How is competition defined? a clear definition was described in an experiment by social psychologists. In the experiment there were two children, Sam and Michael, who participated. Sam was offered M&M candies. He was given two choices:

Choice #1: Sam gets three M&Ms
Mike gets two M&Ms

Choice #2: Sam gets five M&Ms
Mike gets six M&Ms

Sam chose the first option—he was very competitive. Notice that in the second option he could actually have increased his own gain but Michael would have gotten more candies. Sam was driven to be one up from Michael no matter what the gain.

Before we continue, we need to define ethical behavior. Many of the examples in this book about unethical behavior are actions that

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