Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered a definitive connection between marital infidelity and professional misconduct — regardless of the profession of the individual involved.
The study took a look at four different categories of people: financial advisors, people who had ultimately been convicted of white collar crimes, police officers and highly placed executives. The researchers focused on those who had used the now-infamous Ashley Madison website that encouraged marital infidelity under the mantra “Life is short. Have an affair.” In total, researchers looked at 11.235 different people.
The results of the study? In short, those professionals who used Ashley Madison’s services were more than twice as likely to end up in trouble for professional misconduct.
What does this mean? Well, researchers and psychologists will probably be sorting out all the implications for a while, but it basically indicates that someone willing to skirt the “rules” in their personal life may also be willing to skirt the rules of their professional life as well. The same moral attitudes that allow someone to mentally justify cheating on their spouse may, for example, allow them to grift a little from a client or an employer or ignore the legal rights of a criminal suspect.
Researchers did suggest that creating a corporate culture that eliminates sexual misconduct in the workplace — or maybe stressed morality in general — could help eliminate some instances of professional misconduct. There’s a lot to be said for that idea. When someone is surrounded by a corporate culture that tends to cut corners or sees the rules as something to be bent (if not outright broken), it can easily lead to a “Why not?” attitude.
While we certainly hope that you’ll never find yourself facing an administrative hearing over professional misconduct, just remember that you don’t have to handle it alone — and you probably shouldn’t.