People who aren't faithful in bed don't always stop there. They often exhibit the same loose morals on the job.
Police officers and financial advisors who used a website geared to extramarital relationships were more than twice as likely to engage in professional misconduct as their co-workers who did not use the site. And corporations with CEOs or CFOs who used the site were twice as likely to engage in corporate misconduct, according to a new study.
Ashley Madison is a dating service marketed to people who are married or in relationships. For many years, its motto was “Life is short. Have an affair.” In 2015, it suffered a massive data breach and information from 36 million user accounts was made public.
The results suggest that those who stray in their sex lives are also prone to break the rules at work.
First they looked at 960 Chicago police officers who had at least one complaint against them that resulted in discipline or a reprimand or who had at least five total complaints lodged against them from 2010 to 2018. They were matched to police officers working in the same Chicago district of similar age who had no more than one complaint in those eight years.
The officers in the first group were more than twice as likely to be Ashley Madison users.
Findings were similar for financial advisors. When over 1,300 male financial advisors with a record of misconduct were compared to similar but misconduct-free financial advisors who worked for the same firm in the same county, those with a record of misconduct were more than twice as likely to be Ashley Madison users.
Finally, having a CEO or CFO who was an Ashley Madison user raised a firm's probability of committing corporate infractions by 5.6 percent, a doubling.
This as one more reason to treat workplace sexual misconduct seriously, according to study co-author Samuel Kruger, an Assistant Professor of Finance at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business, “Our results show that personal sexual conduct is correlated with professional conduct. Eliminating sexual misconduct in the workplace could have the extra benefit of contributing to more ethical corporate cultures in general.”
For more details, see the article in PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.