Leading Through Fear Results in Employees That Engage in Unethical Behavior

By Stacie Blair

A study conducted by Anna Steinhage, Dan Cable, and Duncan Wardley and published in the March 20, 2017 edition of the Harvard Business Review, showed that employment policies that elicit excitement were more likely to cause employees to use creativity. Whereas, employment policies that create anxiety were significantly more likely to cause employees to cut corners or sabotage colleagues.

Competitions that elicit fear and anxiety by focusing employees on the threat of being laid off, losing income, or being publicly humiliated encourage unethical behavior unethical – for example, Wells Fargo’s questionable sales tactics.

Competitions that focus on employees winning a bonus or getting positive public recognition make people feel anticipation and excitement and these employees focus on creative solutions.

Leaders should remember it is a carrot, not a stick that encourages creativity!

Read the full article in HBR