If You Cheated in School, You’ll Likely Cheat in Life


Cheating photo


Be honest -- were you one of those kids that skipped class in college pretending to have a stomach bug? Or maybe you used a larger font on your term paper in an effort to meet the 15 page guideline.

If this sort of behavior was part of your normal repertoire in school then researchers contend that it's more likely that you're deceitful at work. This sort of problematic behavior carries over into the workplace, according to a study reported on LiveScience

From College to the Workplace

The study, "Counterproductive Work Behavior and Academic Dishonesty: A Meta-analysis," found that we don't grow out of cheating. If you cheated as a kid, you're likely to cheat as an adult.

"It doesn't seem like the two are very independent of each other," Nathan Kuncel, the study's co-author, told BusinessNewsDaily, reported on LiveScience."

In addition to more innocent behaviors like playing sick, researchers looked at cheating behaviors including getting test questions before the test and writing a paper for someone else. After analyzing 1,500 people they found a strong connection between these behaviors and being dishonest at work later in life. Cheating in college was linked to poor work behavior like taking long lunches, faking sick, filling out false expense reports, and taking a coworkers’ idea for your own.

"There is good evidence that (the fraudulent behavior) will continue to play out," he said on LiveScience.

A Cheating Culture

The pressure starts early on and in an effort to get ahead, some students make the wrong choice. It's a culture of cheating. ABC News reported on a 2002 survey that found of 12,000 high school students, 74 percent admitted cheating on an examination at least once in the past year.

ABC News reported:

Michael Josephson, founder of the Josephson Institute for Ethics, the Los Angeles-based organization that conducted the 2002 survey, said students take their lead from adults.

"They're basically decent kids whose values are being totally corrupted by a world which is sanctioning stuff they know is wrong. But they can't understand why everybody allows it."

It's basically a cycle. Cheating starts with adults that show deceitful behavior, it happens in school, and then it carries over into adulthood if it's not corrected beforehand. 

Photo: Thinkstock

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Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.









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