|Cheaters sometimes win, and winners sometimes cheat|
|Subject||cheating and honesty in business|
|Key Words||cheating, hidden cost, honesty, reputation-building|
|News Story||Can honest people survive in a competitive world? In some cases they can't; in others, they most definitely can. It all depends upon other people's behavior.
Consider a sprinter--or anyone else in competitive sports--who can expect at least a few fellow competitors to be cheating, perhaps by using performance-enhancing drugs. Does the sprinter gain anything by being honest? No. In fact, the person could be hurt by being honest, not cheating at all, and losing the race.
In contrast, consider the competitive world of business. Can you expect others to cheat there, even if the probability that they will be caught is very low? Perhaps yes; but perhaps not. What if honesty is a desirable quality in promotion to a new position? Someone with the reputation of a cheater, liar, etc, will be passed over for that promotion. Others, with reputations for honesty will survive, and even thrive, in instances in which honesty is a requirement for working steadily up the ladder of responsibility.
|Source||Robert Frank. "There's a hidden price for being a cheat." The New York Times Online, 4 August 2005.|
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