Study Suggests Correlation Between Workplace Misconduct And Infidelity

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) suggests that men who engage workplace misconduct are far more likely to engage in genuine affairs and commit infidelity.

The research used data from the 2015 hack of infamous genuine affairs site Ashley Madison as its measure. Researchers Gonzalo Maturana from Emory University and John M. Griffin and Samuel Kruger from the University of Texas explained that people in professional positions, particularly those in higher positions, who were users of Ashley Madison were twice more likely to engage in misconduct in a corporate setting.

The researchers say that the #Me Too movement has renewed people’s interest in the personal conduct of others. While there is some disagreement of how personal and professional conduct relate to each other, they say that the Ashley Madison data provides them with a unique large sample for data to look at an important inquiry that has, in the past, been addressed with anecdotes.

The 2015 Ashley Madison hack revealed data on 36mn users, which the study’s authors was able to use following discussions with attorneys, who stated that said data is usable for research papers due to having been put onto the public domain.

The researchers studied professional behavior in different settings, like police officers with complaints against them, white-collar criminals, and others. The study focused on users with paid transactions to ferret out with paid transactions, which they matched to names and credit card billing addresses.

In the control group of police officers without misconduct, 1.3% had a history of paid Ashley Madison, while 2.9% engaged in misconduct, which is more than twice as much. As for the white-collar criminals, 8.3% had accounts on the infidelity site, which is high compared to the general population. Other professional settings showed similar numbers.

The authors do acknowledge that while Ashley Madison data helps display professional conduct in different settings, it is an imperfect proxy that excludes other forms of unethical personal conduct. They say that people make mistakes in their lives, and their personal character, values, attributes and mindset vary over their lives. The limitations on the data, however, make the empirical findings, limited as they are, are compelling proof that professional and personal conduct are correlated.