New Study Links Infidelity to Workplace Misconduct

You're about to know too much about your coworkers.

New Study Links Infidelity to Workplace Misconduct
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You may have assumed that people who commit infidelity in their personal lives are likely to cheat on more than just their partner. And now, we have proof via a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers out of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, Austin, investigated four groups of professionals—police officers, financial advisers, white-collar criminals, and senior executives—who used the Ashley Madison marital affair website. They looked at the records of more than 11,000 people in these job categories, and found that those who had accounts on the affair-seeking site were more than twice as likely to engage in professional misconduct. The definition of misconduct varied from colleague complaints to class action lawsuits, financial misstatements, insider trading, Ponzi schemes, and other types of fraud.

"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, a finance professor at the McCombs School of Business and lead author of the study, said in a press release. "We find a strong correlation, which tells us that infidelity is informative about expected professional conduct."

It might not seem too surprising to find out that people who are willing to break their wedding vows and also willing to bend the rules at work. But, as noted in the study, there is a "long-standing debate in philosophy and psychology regarding the extent to which behavior and ethics are situational." As the researchers explain, "it is common to assume that there are different standards for private relationships compared with 'business ethics.'" But it turns out, that assumption would be incorrect.

These new findings indicate that, when it comes to personality traits like honesty and trustworthiness, the line between the personal and the professional is a lot blurrier than previously believed.

And for other red flags to watch out for, check out 23 Signs of Infidelity That Are Too Easy to Miss.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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