In one study, the authors administered a survey to employees at an advertising agency. The survey asked the employees how likely they were to engage in various kinds of unethical behaviors, such as taking office supplies home or inflating business expense reports. The employees were also asked to report how much creativity was required for their job. Further, the authors asked the executives of the company to provide creativity ratings for each department within the company.
Those who said that their jobs required more creativity also tended to self-report a greater likelihood of unethical behavior. And if the executives said that a particular department required more creativity, the individuals in that department tended to report greater likelihoods of unethical behavior.
Following the creativity prime, participants were asked to roll a die out of view of the experimenter. They were told that for their payment, they would earn, in dollars, whatever number they reported the die was. For example, if the die showed a three, they would earn three dollars. This measure provides a clever gauge of cheating, as the average of a number of die rolls should be 3.5. Averages much different from that would mean, in this context, that people were lying about what number showed up in order to receive a bigger payment.
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