Are specific people generally dishonest or are people in general specifically dishonest?
As I see it, generally dishonest people intend to cheat, to behave in untrustworthy ways. They are held to be generally unethical in their values and self-interested, often in very materialistic ways. Specifically dishonest people, on the other hand, behave in untrustworthy ways, in very specific circumstances. An Ecosynomic lens might suggest that when they are embedded or indoctrinated into a culture steeped in both (1) focus on their own self wellbeing, at (2) purely the outcomes level of reality, they collapse into only paying attention to their own materialistic wellbeing. This distinction suggests that what we might do with generally dishonest people is quite different than with specifically dishonest people. General dishonesty has deep, complex roots within the human being. Specific dishonesty might be more a matter of the specific culture. Might be. If so, what to do in the two cases is quite different.
Research presented in the December 4, 2014 issue of Nature (click here) finds that, “employees of a large, international bank behave, on average, honestly in a control condition. However, when their professional identity as bank employees is rendered salient, a significant proportion of them become dishonest.”
I would love to hear what you think. Are people more generally dishonest or specifically dishonest? What are the implications for what to do about their dishonesty? Please share what you think here.