The Washington Post: Incentives Can Lead Employees to Cheat or Lie at Work

28 Nov 2022
American workplaces rely heavily on incentives to achieve performance targets, but focus on rewards can lead to ethical lapses, research shows.

Originally found at The Washington Post

In 2020, Wells Fargo paid $3 billion to settle claims that employees had committed widespread consumer abuses, including opening millions of unauthorized or outright bogus accounts, forging signatures, and moving money from real accounts to fake ones.

Regulators zeroed in on Wells Fargo’s incentive system, intended to juice sales. Employees “secretly opened unauthorized accounts to hit sales targets and receive bonuses,” according to the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The scandal highlights how workplace incentives “can be a cure as well as a poison,” according to Tae-Youn Park, lead author on research published in the Academy of Management Annals that explores how incentive programs can unintentionally encourage bad behavior at work.

Continue reading the original article at The Washington Post.

Read the original research in Academy of Management Annals.

Read the Academy of Management Insights summary.

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