A Morally Dubious Leader Can Hurt Your Career

Problem

So, your CEO is doing the perp walk and you’re brushing up on your resume. People won’t judge you for what your executive did, right?

Reality

People most certainly will, according to a study published in Social Psychological & Personality Science.

Method

In one test, study participants had to read vignettes describing a company executive engaged in dishonest business practices.

In another, researchers tracked the careers of people who worked for companies like Enron.

Results

Study participants in the first test were more likely to consider the executive’s actions prototypical of an organization than selfish—resulting in a negative moral impression of the entire company.

In the other, people who had worked for bosses known to be unethical were more likely to receive negative job recommendations—even if they didn’t know the boss at all.

The Takeaway

Obviously, it’s in your interest to work for an organization perceived to be ethical. Whether that means working to make your organization ethical or just shooting a dumb commercial is up to your corporate culture.

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