Why Do People Bend The Rules?

In a provocative popular press (non-academic) article entitled “ARE THESE Rules WORTH BREAKING?,” (PDF attached) author Pincott explored some of the reasons why people bend or break rules on a regular basis.  Review the premise of the article and then conduct your own review of the academic literature to identify psychological theories that explain why people find it acceptable to behave unethically. 

In a paper of at least 1,800 words (excluding title, abstract and reference pages), address the following:

  1. Discuss what compels some people to make unethical or immoral decisions in the workplace.  What is the psychological basis for choosing unethical, immoral decisions and behaviors?  Is it personal gain, lack of awareness, the ability to get away with something, innate deviance, moral corruption, or, perhaps, some other rationale entirely?  Support your discussion of psychological theories with evidence from relevant empirical (research-based) studies.
  2. Consider the practical implication of rule bending and unethical behavior in the work environment.  What are some of the challenges that arise when people decide to act unethically and bend the rules in the workplace?
  3. Ethical behavior is a reflection of values and morals.  Evaluate the extent to which people in the United States are guided by a set of personal morals and values.  Is the United States more or less moral in the early part of the twenty-first century than it was in the early twentieth century?  Why?  What impact do morals and values have on people behaving ethically in the workplace?

 In addition to required readings and any websites from which you access information, reference at least four additional academic sources (academic journal articles) to support your analysis, evaluation and recommendations.