This age-old debate about males lacking ethical concerns in life is prevalent even to this day. Sometimes success often comes in the way of the ‘moral compasses’ and men opt for greed, lust, dishonesty, and similar such vices when the compass is not how it must be! It might lead most people to wonder if folks like Bernie, Jimmy, and Barry never underwent their kindergarten classes when stealing, lying and cheating were taught as highly condemnable acts.
However, research suggests that violation of ethics can be predicted – especially contexts, circumstances, and few characteristics can be important determinants to gauge whether one would avail the moral route or not!
Are Men Always Prone To Moral Misconduct?
A notable risk factor for relaxing the rules of ethics is common to almost all the offenders mentioned above – they’re all men. Several studies have demonstrated that men possess lower moral standards than their female counterparts, especially in competitive contexts. Men usually tend to minimize the aftermath of the same, unlike women. They also resort to ‘questionable’ tactics and means in several strategic situations or incidences of deceits are greater.
In most areas, where success is viewed from the standpoint of male competence and vigor, chances of committing unethical acts from men are common. Men using cunning means or strategies to prove their points or defend their masculinity are more than eager to compromise on moral standards and thereby appear dominating. Now whether you must attribute the same to the Y chromosome or testosterone or some genetic differences is still a matter of question. At least current evidence doesn’t point in that direction.
What Do Studies And Findings Suggest?
If you look at the findings of studies conducted by Michael Haselhuhn and Laura Kray, you would discover that the root of this pattern lies embedded in socio-cultural factors. In the American culture, most men are highly motivated to defend their masculinity this way.
Scientists studied these behavioral patterns and said the feeling is akin to losing a ‘battle’. This is especially true for contexts that are highly male-driven and competitive. Manhood peculiarly is fragile and dangerous. So when it gets challenged, men are more likely to be perceived as defensive and aggressive. As a result, men become willing to showcase their ‘masculine competency’. To emerge victoriously, they can go to any extent. So it’s not unlikely either when you witness males sacrificing their moral standards and ‘winning’, thereby proclaiming it as a rightful act, at least in their eyes.
To study this a little more closely, Kray and Haselhuhn conducted experiments where they examined a series of moral decisions from both men and women. Connected to those were the situational and personal factors, all of which influenced their decision-making. In almost every study, men set low ethical standards than women. This was because they were less likely to recommend disclosing conflicting intentions if any. Secondly, they also condemned lies. In both the studies, men often made alterations in their ethical evaluations, resting on their perspectives.
Men’s moral judgments differed in a way that maximized their benefits in every negotiation process. For their gain, ethical missteps were considered acceptable, as and when they felt necessary. On the other hand, when women made similar ethical judgments in almost every perspective, it was largely frowned upon. Naturally, when their ethical choices went inversely proportional to their success rate, women still had to stick to their ethical standards, thanks to individual concerns, societal pressures, and more.
The SINS Scale
One final study was also conducted using the SINS scale (meaning self-reported inappropriate negotiation strategies), wherein individuals’ willingness to forsake ethical principles in several negotiation settings was monitored. Strange as it may sound, but men were again found to engage in what is better termed as ‘shady tactics’ than females.
However, it would be biased and somewhat displeasing if men are always viewed as the ‘self-serving’ and typical ‘schemers’, who are devoid of any human morals. It would also be worthwhile to assess the negotiations strategies, where mostly string men have proven their successful nature. Once they fail in such male-dominated arenas, they usually start looking down upon themselves, which eventually results in them feeling weak and depressed. But on the whole, ethical standards-wise women are more dependable and wiser choices than men.