In war, the first thing to disappear is the truth, that’s quickly replaced by propaganda on all sides, say journalists.
In a deep recession (depression), the growth industry is deception, as well.
Is it just me being more vigilant or are we are seeing more forms of deception from both government and industry –more lies, damn lies, fraud, collusion, price-fixing, bid rigging, bribery, statistical manipulations, regulatory lobbying, revisions, accounting wizardry, off the balance sheet accounts, cooking or fudging the books, proroguing?
In a rush to meet your (unrealistic) sales quotas or to bump up your bonus numbers, or to get your under the table political pay-off, is everyone getting less ethical?
Just yesterday, Bloomberg reported that - - Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan Chase & Co., UBS AG and Hypo Real Estate Holding AG's Depfa Bank Plc unit were charged with fraud linked to the sale of derivatives to the City of Milan
Ever since Enron, more academics have been trying to understand this deceptive unethical behavior. Research in a forthcoming paper might help organizations better understand the thinking patterns and these emerging so-called ethical dilemma in the workplace.
"The Ethical Mirage: A Temporal Explanation as to Why We Aren't as Ethical as We Think We Are", which will be published later this year in Research in Organizational Behavior, examines the psychological processes of individuals and how they deceive themselves into thinking they are ethical people.
"Companies typically don't do bad things because they have bad people," said Kristina A. Diekmann, Ph.D.,
professor of management. and one of the four co-authors of the paper. Universityof Utah
“When people imagine or predict what they would do in certain situations,” she explained, “they think about what they should do, however, when it comes to actually making decisions, people tend to focus on what they want to do.” For example, individuals know they should behave ethically when negotiating with a client, but during the actual negotiation with that client, their desire to close a deal may cause them to make misleading statements and later justify doing so to others. “They are not conditioned to think of the ethical consequences at the time of the decision,” Diekmann said. “What is particularly problematic is that when people deceive themselves into thinking they are ethical but don’t act accordingly, it encourages the continuation of negative behavior.”
“When people imagine or predict what they would do in certain situations,” she explained, “they think about what they should do, however, when it comes to actually making decisions, people tend to focus on what they want to do.”
For example, individuals know they should behave ethically when negotiating with a client, but during the actual negotiation with that client, their desire to close a deal may cause them to make misleading statements and later justify doing so to others.
“They are not conditioned to think of the ethical consequences at the time of the decision,” Diekmann said. “What is particularly problematic is that when people deceive themselves into thinking they are ethical but don’t act accordingly, it encourages the continuation of negative behavior.”
The pressure to perform and act unethically and deceptively will only increase in this uncertain economy, where the stock markets have surged into a V-shaped recovery but spending in the “real economy” has greatly lagged. To meet you sales targets and quotas in a lagging lackluster economy, look for more fraud and deception.
Why is this happening? Why are the developing nations in the West running out of steam? Some historians and economists think that it's part of the natural economic process-where industries go through their natural life cycle of birth, growth, maturity and decline. The DJ and S&P has a regular peak in turnover rates every recession as companies die, go bankrupt get sold and fall off the map.
Many confuse the overlapping business cycle (with the assumption that things will get back to normal again) and the expectations of unending growth and the natural industry life cycle.
The dilemma now is that many mature industries that are in excess capacity and have permanently shed jobs, will not rehire and have not been replace by new job creating industries in nanotech, biotech, cleantech, greentech, energy harvesting etc to absorb the excess unemployed blue color labor force. Privately many doubt that they will. These high tech startups are far less labor intensive, more automated and more inclined to hire post docs instead of former middle managers or blue collar workers. I find it hard to see how the USA can create enough "green jobs" promised by Obama to absorb 8.5 million unexployed workers let go during the recession.
There was one single chart that I saw last year, that was an eye-opener for me,-the AHA moment -the one that awoke me up to the current economic mess. It was a table of a 50 year trend line of the quarterly GDP growth in Canada over my lifetime. (It was published in the newspaper but the qucikly disappeared from the web site, when editors likely realised the mistake they made to let the economic cat out of the bag.)
A similar set of charts were produced in the USA by the Atlanta Fed in a recent report that looked at changes not decade by decade, which is a artificial construct, but by trough to trough in each business cycle. (I'll bet you won't see these published in the mainstream business press either.) N.B. Note the size of the US GDP in the runup, prior to World War II.
You don't even have to read the detailed numbers to discern the overall trend direction-cleary it's down.
You'll notice that they all peaked when I was born and have been trending downward throughout my lifetime. So it's not cyclical (a fault of the business cycle) but structural -our industries in western countries are in decline and have not been sufficiently replaced by the next crop of exciting "up and comer startups."
Are there opportunity windows here amidst this chaos and turbulance? Plenty!
Call or write to ask us how to spot, recognise or design them inside your organization and industry space.
Author of the soon-to-be published book-
Contact us about the Opportunity Clinic workshop and to invite Walter Derzko as a keynote speaker at your next event